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Posted at 10:27 AM ET, 11/22/2010

David Catania seeks education panel chairmanship

By Tim Craig

D.C. Council member David A. Catania (I-At large) is vying to become the next chairman of the city's Education Committee, saying he wants to take his "skill set and apply it to school reform."

Catania, the second-ranking council member in seniority, said he has already begun considering how he would run the committee that has oversight over the city's 50,000-student school system.

In the coming weeks, Council Chairman Elect Kwame Brown (D) will be deciding committee chairmanships. Catania now chairs the Health Committee.

When Mayor-elect Vincent C. Gray (D) was elected council chairman in 2006, he moved education to the Committee of the Whole, which all 13 council members sit on and which Gray chairs. Gray said that education was so important that all members should have a stake in it.

But Catania argues that education should be broken out as a stand-alone committee.

"If the last four years tell us anything, education is an overwhelmingly important subject matter, and it's difficult for the chairman of the council to run the institution and chair the most significant subject matter in the city," Catania said. "It's overwhelming, and we should go back to having a separate committee."

Catania said that he did not know Brown's plans. But many council observers speculate that Brown may place another subject matter, such as economic development, in the Committee of the Whole and allow a council member to take over the Education Committee.

As a chairman, Catania is known as aggressive in oversight. At times, he's been accused of trying to micromanage the Health Department, but his supporters note he's been able to implement numerous reforms within the agency.

If Catania doesn't get to chair a newly-formed Education Committee, he said, he would want to continue to chair the Health Committee.

Brown says he hasn't decided on chairmanships yet. "I haven't talked through anything."

By Tim Craig  | November 22, 2010; 10:27 AM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council, Education, Tim Craig  
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What ever David Catania touches he will do a great job with. If he is handed the Education Committee then we can all rest assured that David will move the reform forward and do so within the fiscal restraints needed. David is First Class from every standard.

Posted by: | November 22, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Kwame is going to enjoy being chairman, as long as he doesn't get the running joke about his intelligence.

Posted by: hungrypug | November 22, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

What qualifications does Catania possess with respect to education?

Posted by: ObjectiveReader1 | November 22, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

I didn't vote for Catania because he's a nasty SOB Republican turned Independent, after President George Bush didn't support gay marriage.

Posted by: RockCreekPark | November 23, 2010 1:48 AM | Report abuse

Why does he all of sudden have an interest in education? He rarely showed up for Council hearings on education, he was not on the previous education committees since his election. He never had any substantive contribution on education matters, except to grandstand and criticize. This is both curious and ridiculous. I will lose all respect for Chairman-elect Brown if he grants this request.

I'd rather see Wells or Cheh chair and ed committee. Though Cheh tends towards legislating as a way of micro-managing, which is inappropriate, at least she has shown real interest and done her homework. Wells has an education background and was involved in many of the education issues on the committee of the whole, though I think he focused on DCPS to the exclusion of charters. BTW, the writer gets the number of schools in the system wrong - even if he's just talking about DCPS and forgets there are 25,000+ charter school students in DC. Does Catania even know this?

Posted by: DCcomm | November 23, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

He will be GREAT on that panel...he will firing the remaining teachers in Ward 7 and Ward 8 who should have been fired. He will also manage to get rid all the idiots who are still in the Teacher's Association and schools. Rhea had balls, because she was not a woman of color and did not have to does Catania...he does not need to pander to them.

Posted by: observer9 | November 25, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

DCcomm - Sorry, you are wrong on Catania's attendance. Say what you will about him, he was the only Councilmember other than Chairman Gary, to stay start to finish on the many marathon education hearings of the last few years.

Posted by: billjones21 | November 29, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

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