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National Teacher of the Year Joins House Education Committee


The 2016 National Teacher of the Year has joined the House committee that oversees K-12 education. 

U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., has become a member of the House education committee—which Democrats have rechristened from the House Education and Workforce Committee to the House Education and Labor Committee—once the House Democratic Caucus approves recommendations for new committee assignments Tuesday.

Hayes won her House seat after an upset win in the Democratic primary last year and her November victory in the general election for an open House seat. Hayes put education at the forefront of her campaign, as our colleague Sarah Schwartz wrote after her November win. Among other things, she campaigned on providing teachers with more resources, more career training, and making college more affordable. 

In a subsequent interview with our coworker Madeline Will, Hayes said, "I understand the importance of public education. I know for so many of our children, that's their only option." And she questioned the value of school choice for those children who don't have a parent to help make education decisions. 

Click here to watch Maddy's conversation with Hayes, or you can watch in the embedded video at the top of this blog post. 

A House Democratic aide said all Democratic committee members from the previous Congress are returning to the House education committee, except for Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, of Delaware. Democrats picked up 40 House seats in the November midterm elections and regained control of the House for the first time since 2011. Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., will serve as House education committee chair this Congress. 

Other freshmen Democrats joining the House education committee include Rep. Lauren Underwood of Illinois, the youngest black woman ever to serve in Congress, and Rep. Donna Shalala of Florida, the secretary of health and human services under President Bill Clinton. 

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