Education reform could be rare area for bipartisan cooperation, say Republicans

Education reform could be a rare area of bipartisan cooperation in the 112th Congress, two Republicans said Wednesday.

Veteran Sen. Orrin Hath (R-Utah) and new Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) said House and Senate Republicans will probably quickly "find common ground" with the Obama administration on education.

"I think we'll find some common ground with the administration, possibly with the secretary of education as well, and those will be the goals I'll be working for," sad Noem, a freshman representative on the Republican leadership team, on Fox News.

Hatch, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, echoed Noem and said that education reform could be priority in the next Congress.

"I think we've got to do a better job on education," Hatch said on the Fox Business Network. "There's some element of truth to that."

Hatch went on to criticize the administration's spending, regulation and tax policy but did not say anything critical of the president or the Democrats on education.

The Capitol Hill conservatives aren't the only ones making nice on education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan wrote on Monday in The Washington Post that "few areas are more suited for bipartisan action than education reform."

Optimism is particularly high because the No Child Left Behind Act, which faces reauthorization, was authored by incoming Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) when he served as chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee earlier this decade.

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