Congress Is Going Back to School

Kristina Peterson:

During Congress’ two-week recess, House Republican leaders assigned lawmakers some homework: go visit charter schools.

The field trips were part of a coming House push on education, a topic that has received relatively little attention in Congress lately amid the battles about health care and budgets.

But with major fiscal fights delayed until after November’s midterm elections, leaders of both chambers are preparing to focus on education as lawmakers return to Washington this week. Though the campaign-season sniping about the health-care law shows few signs of abating, Democrats and Republicans alike view education legislation as a key plank in their agendas for expanding opportunity and a comfortable arena in which to seek support from younger voters and families.

The GOP-controlled House is pushing a bipartisan bill aimed at expanding access to charter-school funding and making it easier to open new charter schools modeled after those that have been the most successful. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R., Va.), long a proponent of broadening school choice, said in a memo Friday that the House would vote on the bill the week of May 5.