Alexander stakes out course as head of Senate Ed Committee

The Tennessean-

After his lopsided re-election victory, Lamar Alexander is poised to become chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the new GOP-led Senate, opening a path for Republicans to pounce on a cornerstone education policy of President Barack Obama.

Alexander, recognizing that a new Republican majority would be likely, highlighted his preferred education course routinely on the campaign trail — though it would be an uphill climb for any to become law with Obama still holding veto power from the White House.

A top item for Alexander would be to upend a hallmark approach of Obama’s education agenda — that is, getting states to adopt policies such as new academic standards and systems to evaluate teachers by rewarding them with federal Race to the Top grant money or waivers from the outdated federal No Child Left Behind law.

Even though states themselves make these calls — Tennessee did so in 2010 as one of the first states to land Race to the Top money — Alexander has likened the approach of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan as a trend toward a “national school board.”

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