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Event Summary

On Thursday, May 29 at AEI, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), chairman of the US House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, introduced the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education (CHOICE) Act.  As a companion bill to Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) legislation on the Senate floor, the CHOICE Act seeks to increase student success and opportunities by providing greater school choice for students with disabilities and for students in military families. The CHOICE Act would also adjust the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program, expanding educational options for low-income families in Washington, DC.

Rokita stated that the goal of his new bill is “to increase flexibility for school districts to use federal dollars as they need them.” He went on to say that “true education reform cannot come from the federal government,” but rather from parents and local schools. Under the bill, funds would follow students, not bureaucracies, and there would also be incentives for states to increase school-choice programs.

At the same time, he acknowledged, “You’ve got to deal with the reality of today’s current political system,” adding “it’s a day-to-day judgment on what role feds can play.” Rokita concluded his remarks by declaring that work must continue to be done as we think about “expanding choice for more families.”
–Sarah DuPre

Event Description

Education policy has been a focal point of the Obama administration’s domestic agenda. With the 2014 midterm elections just around the corner, many are now looking for the Republican response to the federal role in K–12 schooling.

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), chairman of the US House Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee, has been a leader in producing conservative education reform policies on Capitol Hill — from the Student Success Act, which significantly rewrote No Child Left Behind, to bills supporting greater school choice. Join us to hear Rep. Rokita sketch out his vision for the federal role in K–12 education with an eye toward the upcoming elections.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


2:45 PM

3:00 PM
Opening Remarks:
Frederick M. Hess, AEI

3:05 PM
Todd Rokita, US House of Representatives (R-IN)

3:25 PM
Frederick M. Hess, AEI
Todd Rokita, US House of Representatives (R-IN)

3:45 PM
Question-and-Answer Session

4:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Sarah DuPre at [email protected], 202.862.7160.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Frederick M. Hess is resident scholar and director of education policy studies at AEI. An educator, political scientist, and author, Hess studies a range of K–12 and higher education issues. He pens the Education Week blog Rick Hess Straight Up and has authored influential books on education including “Cage-Busting Leadership” (Harvard Education Press, 2013), “The Same Thing Over and Over” (Harvard University Press, 2010), “Education Unbound” (ASCD, 2010), “Common Sense School Reform” (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), “Revolution at the Margins” (Brookings Institution Press, 2002), and “Spinning Wheels” (Brookings Institution Press, 1998). He has edited widely cited volumes on education philanthropy, urban school reform, how to stretch the school dollar, education entrepreneurship, what we have learned about the federal role in education reform, and No Child Left Behind. He also serves as executive editor of Education Next; as lead faculty member for the Rice Education Entrepreneurship Program; on the Review Board for the Broad Prize in Urban Education; and on the boards of directors of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, 4.0 Schools, and the American Board for the Certification of Teaching Excellence. A former high-school social studies teacher, Hess has taught at the University of Virginia, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, Rice University, and Harvard University.

Todd Rokita represents Indiana’s Fourth Congressional District. He served as Indiana’s Secretary of State from 2003 to 2011 and ran his office on the same budget used in 1987, while he also implemented Indiana’s landmark voter identification law. Rokita focuses on slowing federal spending as a member of the influential House Budget Committee, where he succeeded in including portions of his Medicaid block-grant plan as part of the House-passed budget. He also serves as a subcommittee chairman on the House Education and Workforce Committee and on the House Administration Committee, which oversees election law and other critical issues. Additionally, Rokita is the chairman on the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education and introduced the No Child Left Behind rewrite, the Student Success Act, which was the first ESEA reauthorization to be considered on either the House or Senate floor in more than 11 years. As a congressman, Rokita has earned the US Chamber of Commerce’s Spirit of Enterprise award, the Friend of Farm Bureau award, and the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association’s “Industry Champion” award, along with awards from the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the American Conservative Union in recognition of his leadership in Congress on key issues.

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