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House Education Committee Welcomes New Republican Members

The chairman of the House education panel, Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., announced new committee members for the 114th Congress, which convenes on Jan. 6, 2015, for its first working legislative day.

The committee is slated to welcome eight new Republicans—Democrats haven't yet finalized their picks for the committee—including Rep.-elect Dave Brat, R-Va., who famously ousted former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the GOP primary.

But with the exception of one new member, Rep.-elect Glenn Grothman from Wisconsin, none have strong education policy platforms other than wanting to shrink the federal government's footprint and roll back the Common Core State Standards.

Here's a list of the new Republican members:

  • Rep.-elect Dave Brat, Virginia
  • Rep.-elect Buddy Carter, Georgia
  • Rep.-elect Mike Bishop, Michigan
  • Rep.-elect Glenn Grothman, Wisconsin
  • Rep.-elect Steve Russell, Oklahoma
  • Rep.-elect Carlos Curbelo, Florida
  • Rep.-elect Elise Stefanik, New York
  • Rep.-elect Rick Allen, Georgia

Brat, Russell, Stefanik, and Allen all consider the common core a federal initiative and plan to support policies that give states and local school districts more flexibility over standards. None of them provide specific proposals for how they would make that happen.

Curbelo and Stefanik have voiced vague interest in "reforming" higher education, with Stefanik a big proponent of vocational and technical programs.

Meanwhile, Carter and Bishop don't mention education on their campaign web sites at all.

Grothman, in comparison, will come into the committee with some education policy experience. As a state House member in Wisconsin, he authored legislation providing a refundable tax credit to parents of children in private schools. Though his measure failed, he was able to secure an income tax deduction for parents with children in private school. He also sponsored various bills to roll back the common core in Wisconsin

In addition, Grothman has some big higher education ideas: During his campaign, he promised to address the rising costs of higher education by allowing student debt to be restructured under bankruptcy like most other debts. This, he said, would force universities to take students' ability to repay their loans into consideration when setting the price for tuition.

In addition to gaining new members, the committee will say goodbye to a slate of Republican lawmakers as well, some who are retiring and other who are shifting committees. Here's a list of those departing the committee (in order of committee seniority):

  • Rep. Thomas Petri, Wisconsin
  • Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, California
  • Rep. Tom Price, Georgia
  • Rep. Kenny Marchant, Texas
  • Rep. Brett Guthrie, Kentucky
  • Rep. Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee
  • Rep. Larry Buschon, Indiana
  • Rep. Mike Kelly, Pennsylvania
  • Rep. Luke Messer, Indiana
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