Special Education

Castle Loss to Remove Bipartisan K-12 Policy Voice

By Alyson Klein & Christina A. Samuels — September 15, 2010 2 min read
Jane Castle embraces her husband, U.S. Rep. Mike Castle, as he conceded to Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s Republican senatorial primary on Sept. 14.
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Rep. Michael N. Castle’s loss in his quest for the GOP senatorial nomination in Delaware will remove from Congress a longtime member with deep expertise in education issues and a reputation for helping bridge the gap between Republicans and Democrats on thorny aspects of K-12 policy.

The nine-term House member and former governor of Delaware lost the GOP U.S. Senate nomination last week to Christine O’Donnell, a tea party-backed marketing and media consultant also vying to fill the seat formerly held by now-Vice President Joe Biden.

Rep. Castle served as a senior member of the House Education and Labor Committee. During his nearly two decades in Congress, he was both the ranking member—and, when the GOP was in the majority, the chairman—of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education.

“I don’t think there’s a major piece of K-12 legislation in the last 18 years that doesn’t show his fingerprints,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., the president of the Washington-based Thomas B. Fordham Institute, who served in the U.S. Department of Education under President Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Finn said that major education legislation has traditionally been bipartisan.

“I see the odds of that actually happening dwindling as both parties head for their respective walls and nobody is left in the middle of the auditorium,” he said.

Rep. Castle is the author of the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which guarantees a free, appropriate public education to students with disabilities nationwide. He helped write the 1997 revision of the IDEA and the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. He also helped shepherd the 2007 reauthorization of the Head Start Act, which gained broad bipartisan support.

Rep. Castle also sponsored the legislation that created the Institute of Education Sciences, an independent research arm of the U.S. Department of Education. And as governor of Delaware, he served on the board of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the National Assessment of Education Progress, or NAEP.

‘Thoughtful’ Reputation

Katherine Beh Neas, a co-chairwoman of the education subcommittee of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, said that Rep. Castle has a reputation as a legislator who is not afraid to dig into some complicated issues, citing his recent work on promoting appropriate accommodations for testing students with disabilities.

“The word I keep coming back to is that he was thoughtful and someone who made decisions based on facts,” Ms. Neas said. “He was also someone who was very connected to people with disabilities in Delaware. We will miss working with him.”

Ms. O’Donnell will face off in the general election against Chris Coons, the New Castle County Executive, who is now favored to win the seat in Democratic-leaning Delaware. Mr. Coons also has a record on education issues; he serves on the advisory board of the Wilmington-based Rodel Foundation of Delaware, a state education organization that helped craft the state’s winning application in the federal Race to the Top competition.

A version of this article appeared in the September 22, 2010 edition of Education Week as Castle Loss Echoes in K-12 Realm

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Teaching Live Online Discussion Seat at the Table: How Can We Help Students Feel Connected to School?
Get strategies for your struggles with student engagement. Bring questions for our expert panel. Help students recover the joy of learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Special Education The Pandemic Changed How We Teach Students With Learning Differences
Educators shared their new knowledge as part of Education Week's interactive Q & A.
2 min read
Image of a puzzle and brain illustration.
Getty
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Special Education Whitepaper
Easterseals Intersection Collective: Disability + BiPOC Youth
This white paper is meant to highlight the current efforts of the Intersection Collective and opportunities to collaborate. We welcome yo...
Content provided by Easterseals
Special Education What the Research Says 3 Out of 4 Gifted Black Students Never Get Identified. Here's How to Find Them
Most attend schools where they never get a chance to be recognized, a new Purdue University study finds.
4 min read
Group of diverse students embracing teacher at school corridor.
E+/Getty
Special Education What the Research Says Federal Special Ed. Funding Is Woefully Inequitable, New Studies Show
Outdated funding formulas continue to widen gaps that shortchange students with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, researchers say.
5 min read
A paraprofessional guides a student back to his gym class while participating in remote learning at his home in Wharton, N.J.
Paraprofessional Jessica Wein guides Josh Nazzaro back to his gym class while participating in remote learning at his home in Wharton, N.J., in 2020. New research adds to long-standing critiques of federal funding for special education.
Seth Wenig/AP