Wash Post: Catania Moving to Education Committee?

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."

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