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Sens. Bennet and Murray Join Team ESEA in the Senate

By Alyson Klein — February 04, 2011 1 min read

The Senate is gearing up to take baby steps toward—eventually, at some point—trying to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And two lawmakers will take newly prominent roles in the negotiations: Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Sen. Michael F. Bennet, D-Colo.

Both senators have long records on, and a lot of interest in, K-12 issues. Murray is a former teacher, and she recently won a very close re-election battle. Her victory was celebrated by the National Education Association, which helped out her campaign. Murray has introduced a number of major education bills, including, most recently the LEARN Act, which seeks to create a comprehensive literacy program.

Bennet, a former Denver schools superintendent, was the rumored runner-up for U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s job. He’s the administration’s Senate soul mate when it comes to K-12 issues. He’s got a lot of fans at Democrats for Education Reform. And he’s introduced legislation to help train turnaround principals.

Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the Senate education committee, is still top dog when it comes to Senate Dems on ESEA. And Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., is still the Democrat’s second-banana on ESEA in the Senate.

Congress geeks: What do you think of this? Do many hands make light work, or do too many cooks spoil the broth?