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Storm Postpones Education Events, Speeches

By Alyson Klein — August 27, 2012 2 min read

The weather may have thrown a monkey wrench into the Republican National Committee’s convention plans, but so far folks in Tampa, Fla., or en route seem to be taking the weather in stride. Delegates—and some education lobbyists—are trying to get to into or out of Tampa because of Isaac.

Already, one education-related event has been postponed: A group of labor unions, including the National Education Association, were supposed to host a reception for labor-friendly members of Congress this afternoon. (The NEA held a somewhat similar event at the Republican convention in Minneapolis in 2008.) Now it’s been pushed to later in the week.

And most of Monday night’s official events have been postponed, including speeches. That means folks may have to wait a bit longer for speeches from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who threw up some big road blocks during the Senate education committee’s consideration of a bill to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington—who might have had a thing or two to say about special education as the mom of a special needs child. (McMorris Rodgers will speak later in the week.)

During a call with reporters Sunday evening, Romney strategist Russ Schriefer said that the rest of the week’s lineup of speakers will be shuffled to include most of the “headliner” speakers who were scheduled for Monday night.

By shedding some of the lower-profile folks, and expanding each night of the speeches from three hours to four, most of those who would have spread the GOP message on Monday night will be accommodated, he said.

While Monday’s events are being scaled back, the convention hall will feature not one debt clock but two, Schriefer said. The second one, to be unveiled as the convention is officially opened Monday—even if few are on hand to witness it—will show how much the U.S. deficit has grown over the course of the convention.

Most folks seem to be taking the weather in stride. Todd Huston, an Indiana delegate and education consultant for Cisco—and Indiana state chief Tony Bennett’s former chief of staff—was unfazed.

“I am sure it will be fine,” he wrote in an email. “I know that it has forced some changes but the primary business of Wednesday and Thursday will get done and that is what is most important,” he added, referring to the big speeches by presumptive veep nominee Paul Ryan and presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney, respectively.

South Carolina delegate and state senator Mike Fair, who is still finalizing his travel plans, said he’s been helping to send the Weather Channel’s ratings “through the roof.” (Education Week readers may know Fair as the state lawmaker who has helped lead efforts to scale back implementation of the Common Core Standards in the Palmetto State.)

This is a blast from the past for the Alyson half of Politics K-12, who was in St. Paul in 2008 when the GOP scaled back its convention because of a hurricane in New Orleans.

-Alyson Klein and Nirvi Shah

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