After months of remaining neutral in the race for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., for president.
But, although Obama sits on the senate education panel, Kennedy didn’t mention reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Law in his endorsement speech today at American University in Washington. He gave only a quick nod to education – praising Obama for “fashioning legislation to put high quality teachers in our classrooms" - an apparent reference to Obama's bill to establish "teacher residencies", which allow students to work alongside a mentor teacher in a high-need school, while seeking a degree in education. Kennedy has also been a supporter of teacher residecies; he included a similar proposal in a bill to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, passed by the Senate last summer.
But most of Sen. Kennedy's remarks focused on Obama’s capacity to bring about change to the system in Washington.
Sen. Obama’s chief rival for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., is also a member of the education panel. Both Obama and Clinton have been critical of the No Child Left Behind Act on the campaign trail – but neither has put forth a clear plan for reauthorizing the law.
Kennedy praised Clintons as having “been in the forefront on issues ranging from health care to the rights of women around the world."
I wonder whether his decision to endorse Obama will make for some tense Clinton/Kennedy moments in upcoming education hearings…