Washington – Concerns by fellow members of the House Ways and Means Committee over Rep. Pete Stark’s politics, background and history of controversial statements led to the surprise decision Thursday to have Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., replace the embattled Rep. Charles Rangel as the committee chairman instead of Stark.
Stark, D-Calif., had been in line for the powerful post after Rangel announced Wednesday he was stepping down until a House ethics committee finishes investigating him.
In the end, however, Stark agreed to step aside in favor of Levin, announcing early Thursday that he wanted to concentrate on running the Ways and Means subcommittee on health.
“We are at the cusp of achieving health care reform, and we must remain focused on moving forward,” Stark said. “Once we pass health reform, it will take careful oversight to make sure that it is being implemented correctly.”
Education names finalists for grants
Miami – The U.S. Department of Education named 16 finalists Thursday in the first round of its “Race to the Top” competition, which will deliver $4.35 billion in school reform grants.
Selected from a pool of 41 applicants are: Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee. The winners will be chosen in April, and a second round of applications accepted in June.
“These states are an example for the country of what is possible when adults come together to do the right thing for children,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.
The grants are designed to reward states that have adopted and will continue implementing innovative reforms to improve student performance.