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Ed School Faculty Share Ideas with New Members of Congress

Several Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty members discussed education in America at the recent Institute of Politics 18th biennial Program for Newly Elected Members of Congress held at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Although members of the Ed School faculty have participated in prior years' events, this was the first time that a session focused explicitly on education. Professors Robert Schwartz, Tom Kane, and Susan Moore Johnson, and Associate Professor Bridget Terry Long, discussed issues such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB), teacher effectiveness, international student achievement, and college access.

"It was an interesting dialogue," Schwartz said of the session. According to Schwartz, the Representatives were very receptive to discussions about advancing educational issues and what the federal role should be in education. In particular, Schwartz urged the Representatives to consider a federal model of helping states to aid districts.

Congressman Gerry Connolly (VA-11, D) was pleased that education was highlighted in this year's sessions and appreciated the opportunity to speak with Harvard faculty in education.

"Bob Schwartz's perspective on NCLB nicely dovetails with my own and what needs to be done," Connolly said. "We talked in broader terms of education funding and the need for attracting teachers and what to do about inner city schools, as well as the proper role of federal government. I think there is a real debate about the proper role of federal government in education."

Dean Kathleen McCartney, who sat in on the discussion, agreed that it was great to be at the table with the members of Congress and hear their thoughts on education. "I met many new members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. Many of them had defeated long-term incumbents. What they all shared was their love of public service and their desire for change including much-needed reforms in the education sector," she said.

The following newly elected members of Congress (listed alphabetically by state) are: Parker Griffith (AL-5, D), Ann Kirpatrick (AZ-01, D), Jackie Speier (CA-12, D), Laura Richardson (CA-37, D), Jared Polis (CO-02, D), Mike Coffman (CO-06, R), Jim Himes (CT-04, D), Alan Grayson (FL-8, D), Bill Posey (FL-15, R), Tom Rooney (FL-16, R), Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24, D), Debbie Halvorson (IL-11, D), Bill Foster (IL-14, D), Aaron Schock (IL-18, R), Steve Scalise (LA-01, R), Niki Tsongas (MA-05, D), Frank Kratovil (MD-01, D), Chellie Pingree (ME-01, D), Mark Schauer (MI-07, D), Gary Peters (MI-09, D), Erik Paulsen (MN-03, R), Larry Kissell (NC-08, D), John Adler (NJ-03, D), Leonard Lance (NJ-07, R), Martin Heinrich (NM-01, D), Harry Teague (NM-02, D), Ben Lujan (NM-03, D), Paul Tonko (NY-21, D), Dan Maffei (NY-25, D), Chris Lee (NY-26, R), Steve Driehaus (OH-1, D), Marcia Fudge (OH-11, D), John Boccieri (OH-16, D), Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-03, D), Pedro Pierluisi (PR-AL, D), Jason Chaffetz (UT-03, R), Glenn Nye (VA-2, D), Tom Perriello (VA-05, D), Gerry Connolly (VA-11, D), and Cynthia Lummis (WY-AL, R).

In addition to education, topics discussed included the economy and the federal budget, education, energy, and national security.