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What Will Senator Harkin's Retirement Mean for Education?

Senator Harkin (D-Iowa) has announced that he will not seek re-election when his current term ends in 2014. Harkin has been a champion of education and disability issues for decades, first in the House and later in the Senate.  He currently chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee as well as the Senate appropriations committee responsible for k-12 funding. Senator Harkin has been working for several years on getting the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA formerly known as NCLB) reauthorized. The last draft version of the reauthorized bill was quite controversial, particularly among advocates for minority and low-income students. It is unknown whether the Senate HELP Committee will prioritize ESEA for reauthorization during this Congressional session. The impending retirement of Senator Harkin, however, leaves some very important Senate leadership roles open that have significant implications for education, particularly of the nation's most vulnerable students. 

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