Legislative Update: Education Community Anticipates Progress on Key Issues with Obama and New Congress

After an intense election campaign, President Barack Obama won his second term for president last night. In the process, he was supported by battleground states — Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Wisconsin — to secure at least 303 electoral votes over Mitt Romney’s 206 electoral votes. With the election period over, the education community will be watching to see if key legislation moves forward.

In Congress, Democrats kept control of the Senate, winning a total of 54 seats including two to be held by Independents. Republicans kept their majority in the House with 218 seats. With no change in congressional control in the House and Senate, the current leadership for education – U.S. Senator Tom Harkin and U.S. Representative John Kline – will stay the same. However, there will be 11 new Senators and 76 new House members. View House and Senate election winners here.

Over the last four years, a divided Congress has not made much progress on education policy. Committees from both the House and Senate have approved bills to renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but it is unclear whether both sides will agree on the terms of the act. The Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 is due for reauthorization next year along with laws for higher education, special education, and workforce development.

With Obama in the White House for another four years, the President and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will likely continue with the Administration’s major education initiatives. The Department’s CTE Blueprint, introduced earlier this year, therefore still has the possibility of influencing Perkins reauthorization.

We will keep you updated as we learn more about the election results and possible implications for CTE.

Kara Herbertson, Research and Policy Manager 

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