Campaigns & Elections
Lame-duck lawmakers in Michigan are moving to shift some crucial decisions about education — such as closing schools, a letter grading system, and the creation of innovative districts — away from elected school officials.
EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Baltimore, hosted by John Hopkins University’s School of Education, will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on student success, safety, and well-being.
There will be a new cast of characters overseeing state education policy in 2019—and many of them will be looking to shake things up to deliver on the many promises they made on the campaign trail in this year’s midterm elections.
New governors—many of them Democrats—are expected to propose ambitious budgets with new ways of funding their K-12 systems. The fresh crop of governors and state board members is likely to lead to big turnover of state schools superintendents in places where they’re appointed.
The changing of the guard that’s coming to the Tennessee governor’s office will now definitely come also to the department overseeing state education policy.
Candice McQueen took herself out of the running to continue as education commissioner with last week’s announcement that she’ll transition in January to a new job as CEO of the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching.
When former charter school executive Marshall Tuck called Assemblyman Tony Thurmond to concede over the weekend, it marked another defeat for charter-school advocates in California.
Thurmond was elected California’s top education official in the wave that led more liberal-leaning voters to cast ballots. Although both are Democrats, Thurmond had the party’s endorsement. He also was backed by teachers unions, who were outspent more than two-to-one.
On election night, things did not look good for Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, in his bid to become California’s next state superintendent of public instruction.
His opponent Marshall Tuck had markedly outspent him both in direct contributions to his campaign and in television ads and other activities funded by outside committees by a more than 2-to-1 margin. In late night election day returns, Tuck led by nearly 86,000 votes.
The issue of private school vouchers — shifting public education dollars to private school tuition — once a priority of conservative state lawmakers from suburban districts, seems destined for the back burner during the coming legislative session.
Michigan voters last week dislodged two gigantic barriers blocking the path for those who want to see Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees fire interim president John Engler.
The blue wave at the top of the ticket returned a Democrat to Michigan’s governor’s mansion and the same wave at the bottom of the ticket gave Democrats control of the board, with a 6-2 advantage. Both Gretchen Whitmer, who won the governor’s race, and Kelly Tebay and Brianna Scott, who won the race for two open board seats, called for Engler to go during the election season.
As Candice McQueen prepares to leave her role as Tennessee education commissioner in January, education leaders, advocates, and parents are weighing in on her impact on the state’s schools.
McQueen 44, will become the CEO of National Institute for Excellence in Teaching in mid-January after about four years under the outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam administration.
Fixing school finance will be one of the major tasks facing Texas lawmakers in 2019. Governor Greg Abbott and incoming House Speaker Dennis Bonnen have both named it a top priority for the next state legislative session.
Democrats on Capitol Hill are seeking to ban the practice of isolating students in special rooms or otherwise secluding them in schools that receive federal funds, and to limit when students can be physically restrained.
The Keeping All Students Safe Act would also require schools to notify parents within 24 hours when their child has been physically restrained, and to require states to collect and publish data on restraint and seclusion, including reports of injuries or death.
After a spring awakening of teacher strikes, the 2018 midterms have delivered Democrats the U.S. House of Representatives and seven new governorships — including in Michigan, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Kansas, and Maine.
For observers of education and politics alike, the key questions are these: How did the #Red4Ed movement, with its swarms of T-shirted educators organizing over school funding and teacher pay, influence this year’s historic election results? And with the mini-epoch of conservative reform fading, in which direction will Democratic officeholders move policy?
Funding was the prime education theme in this year’s state midterm elections, fueling debates over teacher pay and more money for local schools, as well as testing voters’ appetite for tax hikes to raise that money.
Now comes a reckoning for a new crop of governors who face political and structural hurdles in delivering on their promises of more school aid, as well as for teacher and other activists whose efforts to push through revenue increases fell short in several states.
After what one teacher described as a “a long slog” for public schools under the eight-year administration of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, public school teachers and advocates felt optimistic watching one of their own — Tony Evers — defeat Walker Tuesday night.
“It was exciting knowing that Tony was a lifelong educator,” said Reshanna Lenoir-Beckfield, a third-grade teacher at Olson Elementary School, a Madison School District school located in Verona. “We really wanted Walker gone for a long time.”
“Remember, remember, we vote in November!” teachers shouted in May as they marched on the streets of Raleigh and in the General Assembly’s gallery, drowning out state lawmakers as they opened the legislative session.
Organizers of the historic May 16 teachers march in Raleigh say the words of the protesters became reality this week when North Carolina voters elected enough Democrats to break the Republican supermajority in the state legislature.
In addition to selecting top leadership roles, voters in at least 17 states considered 23 measures related to education on their statewide ballots this cycle — 16 of which passed, according to National Conference of State Legislatures. Measures considered by voters this year included:
It’s not just newly empowered House Democrats who might be pushing back on Trump administration higher education policies come January. A slew of Democratic wins in state capitals in Tuesday’s elections increases the likelihood that more states will pass laws to crack down on companies collecting federal student loans — in defiance of the Trump administration’s efforts to stop them.
Democrats flipped six state legislative chambers this week, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. They also picked up seven new governor’s seats.
The final absentee ballots from Tuesday’s midterm election were counted Thursday evening, sealing the victory of Indianapolis Public School board of commissioner candidates Susan Collins and Taria Slack.
The two are critics of the IPS administration and ousted incumbent first-term board members Mary Ann Sullivan and Dorene Rodriguez Hoops. Sullivan, a former board president, championed the reforms designed by IPS Superintendent Lewis Ferebee the past four years.
Wisconsin taxpayers voted to pour at least $1.3 billion more into their local public schools on Tuesday, raising their own property taxes in most cases to pay for it and making 2018 another record year for school district referendums.
Capping an election cycle in which education issues dominated the governor’s race, voters approved 77 referendums by school districts asking to borrow money for capital projects or exceed their state-mandated revenue limits to maintain or expand programming. They rejected just five, totaling almost $44 million.
With the election behind, eyes are about to turn to the legislature’s organizational session next month.
That’s because what happens next for education will be shaped by leadership changes coming to the House Education Committee and the budget-writing Joint-Finance Appropriations Committee. Depending on how the dominos fall, changes could come to the Senate Education Committee as well.
Less than a day after the crown jewel of their school choice policies was crushed at the ballot box, prominent school choice advocates doubled down by calling for the Arizona Legislature to promote school choice and vouchers laws.
Both the Goldwater Institute and American Federation for Children issued statements backing school choice in the hours after voters rejected by a 65-35 margin Proposition 305, a massive expansion of school vouchers.
What was the big takeaway for education in the 2018 elections? Sorry if this disappoints, but there just doesn’t appear to be a clear, simple story to tell. It was an election of seeming contradictions.
This was especially true in gubernatorial races, which matter a lot, given the key role state leaders play in education.
Voters rejected Amendment 73, which would have raised money for Colorado’s public schools by increasing income, corporate and property taxes.
Great Education Colorado director and measure supporter Lisa Weil said she knew Amendment 73 would be an uphill battle.
“Adequate funding, fighting for equitable funding and making sure that every student has the opportunities they need to thrive, we know that that’s not about one day. It’s not about one election. It’s not about one year. It is a movement,” Weil said.
For politically active teachers and parents, the defeat of gubernatorial candidate Drew Edmondson was the night’s biggest disappointment.
There were other disappointments, too. Two sitting lawmakers who are former educators lost re-election: Rep. Karen Gaddis, D-Tulsa, and Rep. Donnie Condit, D-McAlester.
The nation’s largest teachers union declared a “major victory” in the wee hours of Wednesday morning, but the reality is far more mixed and, in some cases, deeply disappointing for educators.
The #RedforEd movement that rocked some state capitals earlier this year — which unions sought to harness as thousands of educators demanded better school funding and salaries — didn’t break through in Republican strongholds.
Voters on Tuesday approved tax ratification elections intended to raise more money for schools in Dallas, Richardson and Frisco ISDs, according to unofficial results.
The Dallas and Richardson school districts will each get an additional 13 cents on their maintenance and operations tax rate, placing it at the state maximum of $1.17.
Timothy J. Walz, a Democrat from Mankato, will be the 41st governor of Minnesota after defeating Republican Jeff Johnson in Tuesday’s election.
“Hello, one Minnesota!” Walz, a congressman from southern Minnesota who served 24 years in the National Guard and worked as a high school teacher and coach, proclaimed in his victory speech. “Our democracy is strong tonight.”
Steinmetz High School in northwest Chicago, where Emily Jade Aguilar graduated last year, had just four school counselors. In a school of more than 1,200 students, that simply wasn’t enough.
“We need more mental health resources in our schools,” said Aguilar, who spent Election Day knocking on doors with Voices of Youth in Chicago Education, “to have at least a safe space for 15 or 30 minutes where I could let someone know what is going on.”
Election Night told us a lot about Idaho politics, circa 2018. And it raised several important questions for 2019 and beyond.
Let’s dive into the takeaways.
Serious question: When will Democrats win a statewide race?
It’s not that Cindy Wilson ran a perfect race for state superintendent. But she ran a more than capable race.
Wisconsin’s top school official will now take over as that state’s governor, and that could mean increases in public school funding, along with better relations with teachers and organized labor.
State Superintendent Tony Evers, a Democrat who has been elected three times to that job, declared his victory in the very close race over incumbent Republican Gov. Scott Walker, tweeting “A change is coming, Wisconsin.”
Evers’ supporters were ecstatic.
After upending Wisconsin politics and infuriating liberals across the country, Gov. Scott Walker narrowly lost his bid for a third term Tuesday to Tony Evers, the leader of the education establishment Walker blew up eight years ago.
The Associated Press called the race for Evers about 1:20 a.m. Wednesday based on unofficial returns.
Education spending. Teacher pay. School choice. School safety. A sitting state school superintendent challenging a sitting governor. K-12 education played a huge part in the 2018 midterm elections, especially at the state level. Here’s how election night shook out when it came to selected, high-profile races of interest to educators:
Voters across Allegheny County narrowly rejected a ballot initiative on Tuesday that would have raised property taxes by a quarter mill to funnel $18 million annually to children’s programs.
With 97 percent of precincts reporting, preliminary results showed county residents voted 51.8 percent to 48.2 percent to reject the tax hike that would have created the Allegheny County Children’s Fund. The rejection came despite a months-long, million-dollar campaign promoting the fund that was financed largely by local nonprofits.
Before any precincts reported — just early voting and mail-in ballots counted — Superintendent Alberto Carvalho declared victory for the Miami-Dade school referendum question.
“It’s won,” he said. The early tally was quite a divide: About 70 percent — the overwhelming majority of Miami-Dade County voters — approved a four-year property tax hike to pay teachers more and hire enough school police officers to staff every school.
While we wait for the results of today’s voting, let’s take a few minutes to consider media coverage of education issues leading up to Election Day 2018.
No doubt, there has been a lot of midterm-focused education coverage in the past few weeks and months – much of it quite interesting and useful.
But it hasn’t been as accurate as it should have been at times — in particular when it comes to writing about the “record number” of educators running for office, which has become something of the dominant narrative in the last few weeks.
A political novice, Republican businessman Bill Lee has defied conventional wisdom to become Tennessee’s next governor. Now he’ll have to show that he can govern, too, over a state that has pioneered education reforms for a decade and climbed national rankings on student achievement.
Lee touted his outsider and business background in cruising to victory Tuesday over former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. A native of tony Williamson County, south of Nashville, he has run a 1,200-employee company there with annual revenues of $250 million.
Education won’t be top of mind for all voters on Tuesday. But in some parts of the country, schools are at the heart of intense political battles.
In Wisconsin, teachers unions are hoping a former educator will oust their longtime foe, Scott Walker. In Arizona, a school voucher program is on the ballot — though school choice advocates aren’t happy about it. And across the country, local school board races, dozens of governors’ elections, and the fight for Congress are all set to shape education policy for years to come.
Tomorrow is Election Day, in case you haven’t been conscious lately. While education may not be a top issue driving people to the polls (according to one POLITICO/Morning Consult poll) and may have been far overshadowed by health care on the campaign trail, it has been a talker in many state and federal races.
Young voters are in the spotlight this election as onlookers wonder if they will turn out in larger numbers than in the past. Just 22 percent of young people voted in the 2014 midterms, the lowest rate of any age group.
A new survey from the Education Week Research Center set out to better understand the youngest of youth voters, 18- and 19-year-olds. Results from more than a thousand respondents showed many young voters are suburban, identify as liberal and cite school shootings as their top concern.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that the 2018 election is on Tuesday. So what are the big issues? Which state races should you be paying attention to? What about congressional races? And what will the outcome of the election mean for the Every Student Succeeds Act and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos?
We’ve got you covered.
Republicans are expected to retain control of the Senate, although education is playing in some tight races. The massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is an especially hot issue in Florida.
Republican Kevin Stitt wants a teacher pay increase included in next year’s state education budget, while Democrat Drew Edmondson is willing to hold off for at least a year on another salary increase for educators, the gubernatorial candidates said Wednesday.
In its proposed Fiscal Year 2020 budget, the state Board of Education included $440 million in new annual spending for the school funding formula, school counselors, alternative education programs and other support services.
The department’s proposed budget does not include an increase in teacher pay.
Teachers say they are more than frustrated about rising health care costs, stagnant state funding for education and what they see as constant attacks on their profession.
They’re angry. And they’re organized.
Across the country, educators have been building momentum toward improving education funding through walkouts and political rallies. In places like Oklahoma and West Virginia they’ve successfully pressured legislators for better salaries and funding and even voted some officials out of office.
What’s Motivating Teens to Vote?
Education Week survey, national polls offer insights into young voters
In a new national survey, concern about the February shootings at a high school in Parkland, Fla., was the top reason cited by eligible teen voters as motivating them to cast a ballot. And students who said they had taken civics classes were also more likely to say they planned to exercise their right to vote in the midterm elections.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos suspended her political giving when she joined the Trump administration in 2017, but her husband and other family members remain prolific GOP contributors as they donate vast sums prior to Tuesday’s mid-term election.
The DeVos name has become a pejorative rallying cry for Democrats who bemoan the family’s long-running influence over state and federal education policy. But their continued political giving could be critical in Republicans retaining control of legislative or congressional chambers.
As retiring Gov. Butch Otter’s successor of choice, Brad Little touts his experience and seeks to assure voters that the state is heading in the right direction. Paulette Jordan decries what she considers a failed Little-Otter administration.
This recurring theme plays out on many issues — particularly education. During an Oct. 15 televised debate, for example, Little and Jordan spent several tense and chippy minutes sparring over Idaho’s place in national education rankings.
It has been a whiplash two years in American politics, and that has trickled down to education policy, from the controversial appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary to heated debates about school safety that have arisen in the wake of several mass school shootings.
Now, with midterm elections only days away, it’s time for voters to weigh those policy choices and decide whether they’d like to make a change.
San Francisco’s efforts to encourage non-citizen parents to vote in school board elections have fizzled.
By the deadline for registering this week, only 49 had signed up, according to the city’s Department of Elections.
The low registration rate means many parents in the city will be unable to weigh in about who should make decisions about their children’s schools and that the school district will have to rely on other ways to engage immigrant parents.
Education is a key issue for Florida voters who will pick the state’s next governor, and the two candidates offer starkly different plans.
Republican Ron DeSantis, a former congressman from northwest Florida, wants to continue many of the GOP school-reform plans pushed by state leaders for the past two decades.Those policies — including standardized testing, school grades and private-school vouchers — have led to improved academic achievement for students and more choices for Florida families, his campaign says.
Survey of Teen Voters: What’s on Their Minds as Election Nears?
Get embargoed access to Education Week data, analysis at reporters-only webinar
Millions of young people — including many college students and some still in high school — will get their first chance to vote in a general election in November. What is on the minds of these youths, who have come of age in the time of President Trump and when the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., have helped to catalyze a surge of student activism?
It looks like the U.S. House of Representatives stands a good chance of flipping to Democratic control in the fall, but the Senate is much more likely to stay in Republican hands.
Still, there are nine Senate match-ups currently rated as “Toss-Ups” by the Cook Political Report, which tracks congressional races. Five of those are in seats currently held by Democrats, and four by Republicans. The GOP has a one vote edge in the Senate right now, 51 to 49, but that could tick up after the election if many of the toss-ups go GOP.
If you watch the campaign ads for governor in Wisconsin, you see both sides talking past each other much of the time.
Democrats have been talking about roads and health care. Republicans have been talking about taxes and public safety.
There is only one issue that both sides are hammering away at in their broadcast TV ads, and that is education.
It’s hard to overstate the potential implications for education in the 2018 elections. The reasons have less to do with the high-profile battle for control of Congress. It’s really about the volume of state-level contests in November.
In May, after massive teacher strikes shook up politics in a half-dozen states and thousands of teachers returned to the classroom fresh off the picket lines, a central question lingered: Was the “educator spring,” as the teacher walkouts were dubbed, a one-off event or just a taste of what’s to come?
In less than six weeks, Georgians will elect a new governor. Both major candidates — Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams — say they’d make public education a priority.
They even agree on a few issues. Both have pledged to fully fund schools through the state’s Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula. They both want to beef up reading programs, reduce testing and pay teachers more.
But they also disagree on plenty.
School Board Races Heat Up Around Country
Often overshadowed, these local elections can have big consequences
While the election cycle spotlight typically focuses on state and federal movers and shakers, the outcomes of local school board races this fall could shake up education policies and priorities at the local level in many communities, with seats up for grabs from coast to coast.
For the second time this year, the state’s largest teachers’ union has thrown its support behind a prominent Republican candidate.
On Wednesday, the Idaho Education Association endorsed U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson in the Nov. 6 election.
In announcing the endorsement, the IEA touted the 20-year incumbent’s work on the House Appropriations Committee.
Thursday, October 18, 2018
Unless otherwise noted, all Thursday events take place in Room 304 of The University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center.
From state capitols to the U.S. Supreme Court, teachers are making headlines. Perennial issues like teacher preparation, compensation, and evaluation continue to be debated while a new wave of teacher activism and growing attention to workforce diversity are providing fresh angles for compelling coverage.
Five Questions to Ask After Court’s ‘Janus’ Ruling
Teachers' unions face uncertain future as decision looms
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling soon that could potentially deal a major blow to the size and strength of teachers’ unions.
The case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, pits public sector unions against employees who contend that requiring non-union workers to pay certain fees to the union violates their freedom of speech.
2018: What’s Ahead on the Education Beat
Betsy DeVos, Tax Reform, and DACA in the spotlight (EWA Radio: Episode 153)
Veteran education journalists Greg Toppo of USA Today and Scott Jaschik of Inside Higher Ed offer predictions on the education beat for the coming year, as well as story ideas to help reporters cover emerging federal policies and trends that will impact students and educators at the state and local level. Top items on their watchlists include the effect of the so-called “Trump Effect on classrooms, and whether the revamped tax law will mean big hits to university endowments.
EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This multiday conference provides participants with top-notch training delivered through dozens of interactive sessions on covering education from early childhood through graduate school. Featuring prominent speakers, engaging campus visits, and plentiful networking opportunities, this must-attend conference provides participants with deeper understanding of the latest developments in education, a lengthy list of story ideas, and a toolbox of sharpened journalistic skills.
During and after the 2016 presidential campaign, questions arose about whether shortcomings in civics instruction had exacerbated polarization in the electorate and influenced the election’s outcome. The questions on civics education were soon accompanied by a related one: What if schools are contributing to a breakdown in democracy by failing to ensure kids are media literate?
Schools across the country took a hit in attendance Thursday as immigrant children joined nationwide protests intended to demonstrate what life would be like without the nation’s more than 42 million immigrants in response to President Trump’s controversial immigration agenda.
Kimberly Hefling of Politico discusses the new U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, who was confirmed Tuesday after Vice President Mike Pence was called in to break a 50-50 tie in the Senate. What will be her top priorities moving forward? How aggressively will the new secretary push school choice, and how likely is President Trump’s $20 billion school choice plan to gain traction? Has DeVos lost political capital during the bruising confirmation process? Was she held to a higher standard than other nominees for President Trump’s cabinet? And how much power will the Republican mega-donor have to roll back the Obama administration’s education policies and initiatives?
Caroline Hendrie, executive director of Education Writers Association, welcomes members of the media to EWA’s forum on the 2016 election outcome and the future of education policy.
Advocates of bilingual education got a big win in California Tuesday, when an overwhelming majority of the electorate voted to end the state’s longstanding English-only approach to educating English-language learners.
The Los Angeles Times reports:
Donald Trump spent little time on education issues during his campaign, but his victory is sure to have big implications. Journalists Alyson Klein of Education Week and Andrew Kreighbaum of Inside Higher Ed discuss the likely impact on P-12 and higher education. What will be President-elect Trump’s education priorities, and how will the GOP-controlled Congress respond? Will Trump follow through on his campaign pledge to provide $20 billion for school choice? What will be the fate of existing federal policy like the new Every Student Succeeds Act? And how will Trump approach the hot-button higher education issues like student loan debt and accountability?
This Election Day, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to lift the cap on the number of charter schools in the state — a hotly contested ballot measure that’s drawn more than $34 million in fundraising among the two sides and garnered national attention, with parents of students of color and advocates for minority students on both sides of the issue.
New York Times best-selling author Dana Goldstein (“The Teacher Wars”) discusses her reporting for Slate on whether Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s fiery rhetoric is trickling down into classrooms. Teachers across the country have reported an increase in bullying and other inappropriate behavior. Some organizations – such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the American Federation of Teachers – say those problems are a direct reflection of the tumultuous political season. But how much of this really starts outside of schools, and what are reasonable expectations for schools to navigate controversial political events? Goldstein offers insights and historical context for teachers who must balance instructional objectivity with their own political views. She also suggests story ideas for reporters covering the issue in local schools.
In Massachusetts, a referendum on charter schools is drawing national attention. At issue is whether to raise the state cap on the number of independently operated, publicly funded campuses, and allow existing schools to boost enrollment. But there is also unusually aggressive – and expensive — campaigning on both sides of the issue, raising questions about outside influence on the decision before Massachusetts voters.
James Vaznis of The Boston Globe talks with EWA public editor Emily Richmond about what’s at stake on the upcoming ballot, whether the Bay State’s reputation for high-achieving charter schools pans out, and how questions of diversity and equity factor into the fight.
Experts and advocates assess how early childhood and K-12 education issues are factoring into the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. They offer analysis of the candidates’ campaign positions and explore the complex politics of education policy. They also discuss other key elections around the nation with big stakes for education.
The boys (and girls) are back in town. For class, that is.
See how forced that lede was? Back-to-school reporting can take on a similar tinge of predictability, with journalists wondering how an occasion as locked in as the changing of the seasons can be written about with the freshness of spring.
Recently some of the beat’s heavy hitters dished with EWA’s Emily Richmond about ways newsrooms can take advantage of the first week of school to tell important stories and cover overlooked issues.
For education reporters, coming up with fresh ideas for back-to-school stories is an annual ritual. And if you’re balancing the K-12 and higher education beats, it can be an even bigger challenge.
What implications does the presidential election hold for the future of pre-K -12 policy? What direction would the leading candidates pursue? How might a shift in Congress’s political balance complicate matters? Meanwhile, a dozen governors’ seats are in play, from Oregon to Indiana and North Carolina, setting the stage for state-policy shifts.
The election of Republican Donald Trump is sure to reshape federal policy for education in significant ways, from prekindergarten to college, especially coupled with the GOP’s retaining control of Congress.
Although Trump spent relatively little time on education in his campaign, he did highlight the issue from time to time, from his sharp criticism of the Common Core and high student debt loads to proposing a plan to significantly expand school choice. And Congress has a long to-do list, including reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
Now that the White House race has narrowed to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, how is education playing out as an issue in the campaign? Will it prove an important fault line between the Democratic and Republican candidates? Will Trump offer any details to contrast with Clinton’s extensive set of proposals from early childhood to higher education? What are the potential implications for schools and colleges depending on who wins the White House? Also, what other races this fall should be on the radar of journalists, whether elections for Congress, state legislatures, or governor?
Hillary Clinton vowed to be a partner with educators if she wins the White House, during a speech today to the nation’s largest teachers’ union. Clinton drew enthusiastic applause from National Education Association members for most of the address, including her calls to make preschool universally available, boost teacher pay, and ease the burden of paying for higher education.
But the presumptive Democratic nominee got a far more muted response, and even some jeers, when she made a positive plug — albeit very briefly — for charter schools.
With Donald Trump now seen as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, after his strong victory in the Indiana primary, attention surely will grow to what he would actually do if elected.
If you want to know where Trump stands on education, you might think the first place to go would be his campaign website.
K-12 education hasn’t been a top theme this presidential campaign cycle, but reporters could be more aggressive in mining information from the candidates on the topic, analysts said at a national forum this week.
Historically, education hasn’t played prominently on the campaign trail, said Martin West, an associate professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The 2016 presidential election is no exception – although this race for the White House has also proven wildly unpredictable.
Basketball games between rival Midwestern high schools turned political last week after fans invoked Donald Trump allegedly to intimidate opposing schools with large Latino student populations.
Iowa prides itself on holding the first caucuses of the presidential election year. EWA public editor Emily Richmond talks with statewide education reporter Mackenzie Ryan of the Des Moines Register about what it’s like to be at the epicenter of the presidential race insanity, her coverage of Republican hopeful Marco Rubio, and the big concerns for Iowa voters when it comes to public schools.
Hispanic students in Sioux City, Iowa, say they’ve been bullied since Donald Trump made controversial comments about illegal Mexican immigrants during his presidential campaign announcement speech, prompting hundreds of students, parents and other residents to protest the Republican candidate’s appearance at
It took nearly two hours, but education — more specifically college affordability and some differences in how to address it — came to the fore in the first Democratic presidential debate after CNN co-moderator Dana Bush asked both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about their plans.
As Democratic presidential hopefuls assemble in Las Vegas today for their first formal debate, one topic that has received little airtime during the Republican face-offs is likely to garner far more attention: the high cost of attaining a college degree.
In the campaign for the White House, education has gained considerable attention, from proposals to make college debt-free to sharp criticism of the Common Core standards. The fault lines are not simply between Democrats and Republicans, but also among candidates in each of the two parties, and competing factions in their political ranks.
Education didn’t exactly make a splash in this week’s Republican presidential debate — barely a ripple, actually — but the issue has gained considerable attention in the 2016 contest for the White House, from debates over the Common Core to proposals on higher education access and affordability.
In 2010, billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced an unprecedented gift: he would donate $100 million to the public school district of Newark, New Jersey (dollars that would eventually be matched by private partners).
Dale Russakoff, a longtime reporter for The Washington Post, spent more than three years reporting on what turned into a massive experiment in top-down educational interventions—with decidedly mixed results.
The Education Writers Association, the national professional organization for journalists who cover education, is thrilled to announce that its annual conference will take place from Sunday, May 1, through Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in the historic city of Boston.
Co-hosted by Boston University’s College of Communication and School of Education, EWA’s 69th National Seminar will examine a wide array of timely topics in education — from early childhood through career — while expanding and sharpening participants’ skills in reporting and storytelling.
Getting a read on the American public’s views on education is no easy task, made more complicated by just how much local schools vary. In a country with more than 13,000 school districts that enroll nearly 50 million students, a range of experiences and perspectives are to be expected.
At a speech in December, Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, took the United States to task for the way it funds schools.
“Public education spending is often lower for students in lower-income households than for students in higher-income households,” she told the audience at the Conference on Economic Opportunity and Inequality, in Boston.
Top journo tweets from #EWAChoice’s fourth Saturday session.
Campaign finance might seem like the exclusive province of political reporters, but there are many good reasons why you should be paying attention – both in races for education positions and in other key races at the local, state, and federal levels with implications for education. You’ll need basic math and it helps to have familiarity with a spreadsheet, but you’ll find that once you’ve mastered the basics, a good campaign finance story can take on the fun of light detective work.
This week, Emily and Mikhail talk to Joy Resmovits of The Huffington Post, who discusses her story (written with colleague Christina Wilkie) about the Charles G. Koch Foundation’s creation of Youth Entrepreneurs: a public high school finance course being used in schools in the midwest and south, which was designed to introduce students to free market theory and economics with a distinctly conservative point of view.
When Randi Weingarten gets depressed about the state of public education, she told attendees of EWA’s 67th National Seminar, she calls up memories of her students at the “We the People” competition in upstate New York a couple of decades ago.
AFT President Randi Weingarten talks support for Hillary Clinton, the possibility of a union-backed Republican candidate, and next year’s mayoral race in Chicago.
Recorded May 19, 2014 at EWA’s 67th National Seminar.
Research suggests that suspensions, expulsions, and other disciplinary actions that remove youth from their classrooms put students at greater risk for poor academic and behavioral outcomes. These students are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, receive future disciplinary actions, or become involved in the juvenile justice system. Youth of color, English Language Learners (ELLs), LGBT youth, and those with identified special education needs tend to experience exclusionary discipline actions at higher rates than their peers.
Polling isn’t exclusively the province of political reporters. A handful of national surveys released each year focus on education, including the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll about public attitudes toward education and MetLife’s annual survey of teachers. There’s also often polling done for statewide education-related elections, such as ballot measures or state superintendent races, and, periodically, by news outlets and advocacy organizations on various education-related issues.
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest teachers’ union with nearly 3 million members. Its members work at every level of education, from preschool through postsecondary, but the bulk of its members work in K-12 education.
Among the largest higher-education items targeted for cuts in Mr. Ryan’s budget proposals are the federal student-aid programs. He has called for ending the in-school interest subsidy on undergraduate Stafford loans and tightening the eligibility requirements for the Pell Grant program. He would completely cut off Pell eligibility for students attending college less than half-time.
As a regular feature, The Educated Reporter features a buzzword or phrase that You Need To Know (yes, this designation is highly subjective, but we’re giving it a shot). Send your Word on the Beat suggestions to email@example.com.
Word on the beat: Proficiency
This site offers quick background information on the 12 races for state governor in 2012 (along with the races for executive office in two U.S. territories).
The Thomas B. Fordham Institute is a right-leaning think tank focused on education policy. According to its mission statement, the institute aims to advance “educational excellence for every child through quality research, analysis, and commentary, as well as on-the-ground action and advocacy in Ohio.”
The National School Boards Association is a nonprofit organization that works with federal agencies and other national associations to influence education policy as it pertains to school boards.
The Association has been particularly vocal on issues of the quality of the academic programs some cyber charters offer, citing in a report from May 2012 a “troubling” lack of “good information about results and accountability.”
The National Governors Association is a bipartisan organization that enables its members to share best practices and offers them a collective voice in shaping national policy.
The National Association of State Boards of Education “works to strengthen state leadership in educational policymaking, promote excellence in the education of all students, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, and assure continued citizen support for public education.” The organization is a nonprofit founded in 1958.
Democrats for Education Reform is a centrist policy group.
The Council of Chief State School Officers is “a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions,” according to the group.
The American Enterprise Institute is a right-leaning think tank with frequent reports and discussions on federal education policy.
Republicans, liberals, Hollywood notables and global corporate executives are among those who gave to the Coalition for School Reform.
As part of Don’t Forget Ed, a campaign to make education a key issue in the 2012 election cycle, the College Board commissioned this survey of residents of nine swing states. Among its key findings is the assertion that “Education is a top-tier issue for voters in the 2012 elections for president and Congress, even if it does not always get top-tier attention from candidates.”
Teachers unions won several big victories in both red and blue states Tuesday, overturning laws that would have eliminated tenure in Idaho and South Dakota, defeating a threat to union political work in California, and ousting a state schools chief in Indiana who sought to fundamentally remake public education.
Election Results: Charter Schools Have Narrow Lead in Washington State, Missouri Says No To Tobacco Tax Hike for Education
Reform supporters come from both parties, and tend to push for charter schools and grading teachers in accordance with their students’ standardized test scores. In some states, like Connecticut, South Dakota and Idaho, voters dealt the movement a significant blow, pushing back controversial measures that would have ended an elected school board, abolished teacher tenure and instituted merit pay.
The 20-year classroom veteran says he’s grateful to Mr. Obama for pouring billions of dollars into saving teachers’ jobs and investing in early-childhood education. And he’s very worried about GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s plan to turn more than $25 billion in federal education funding for special education and disadvantaged children over to parents, who could then spend the money at any school they choose, including a private school. That could ultimately undermine the public system, Mr. White said.
On the issue his campaign has been most silent on — the fate of the waivers the U.S. Department of Education and Secretary Arne Duncan have granted so far from NCLB—Handy didn’t outright say Romney would get rid of them. But he broadly hinted at it.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, in his most detailed comments about education spending yet, pledged during Wednesday night’s debate with President Barack Obama in Denver that he would not cut federal education funding if elected—even as he made the case that he’s the best choice to rein in a mounting deficit.
If Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney wins the November election, his ascension could endanger—or dismantle—key Obama administration education initiatives and lead to a slimmed-down and less activist U.S. Department of Education.
In Illinois, the top two recipients of political contributions from the Illinois Education Association through June 30 were Republicans, including a State House candidate who has Tea Party support and advocates lower taxes and smaller government.
EWA compiles articles from multiple sources to help contextualize the NBC Education Nation interviews with the presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
Some of the education-related ballot items, like those in Arizona and California, are part of the perennial effort to obtain more financial support for schools and seek to help K-12 school systems recover in part from the Great Recession and subsequent economic stagnation. But other proposals—such as ones in Idaho and South Dakota—represent resistance from teachers’ unions and other groups to changes they view as antagonistic to public education, such as reduced collective bargaining rights or a bigger emphasis on standardized testing.
But at the state and local levels, Democrats’ views on vouchers are more diverse and nuanced than what is suggested by the party’s national platform, which makes no mention of private school choice, or by the policies of the Obama administration, which has consistently opposed providing public money for private school costs. Some Democrats see vouchers as offering an escape hatch for students who would otherwise be forced to stay in academically struggling public schools.
During the recently concluded presidential nominating conventions, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney offered stark choices on K-12 policy while downplaying areas of agreement between their two parties—and the tensions within each party on education issues.
The apologetic tone was not an emotional, spur-of-the-moment outburst, even if Weingarten is given to raising her voice and slapping her hand on her leg to emphasize a point. She appeared to recognize that if teachers’ unions are going to weather another round of criticism, brought on by a new Hollywood film, “Won’t Back Down,” in which the union is the bad guy, they will have to adopt a strategy that starts with conciliation.
But while teachers’ union chiefs opine on the importance of social justice, tolerance, workers’ rights and abortion rights, similar scrutiny shows that in recent years, national and local affiliates of the National Education Association — the nation’s largest teachers’ union — have endorsed candidates who disagree on all those counts. Since 1989, five percent of campaign contributions by the NEA have gone to Republicans, according to public records.
The party platform promotes the reform of the federal student loan program, the increased funding to Pell Grants and the new income based repayment option for federal loans. It’s a stark contrast to the Republican platform, which called for a roll back of the student loan reform to funnel money back through private banks.
College affordability, global competitiveness, and Republican threats to education spending were consistent themes for governors and other high-profile speakers on Tuesday’s first night of the Democratic National Convention.
“You can’t be pro-business unless you’re pro-education,” declared San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who gave the keynote speech, in drawing a sharp and critical contrast between President Barack Obama and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney on support for schools.
Teachers unions have been the Democratic Party’s foot soldiers for more than half a century, providing not only generous financial backing but an army of volunteers in return for support of their entrenched power in the nation’s public schools.
But this relationship is fraying, and the deterioration was evident Monday as Democrats gathered here for their national convention.
WASHINGTON – President Obama would make tax credits for college expenses permanent and expand Pell grants for students from lower-earning families. The Republican team of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would emphasize the need to curb rising tuitions and federal education spending that are burdening families and the government.
With the Republican National Convention about to kick off, it’s officially time to start speculating about who could be presumptive GOP Mitt Romney’s education secretary if he wins the presidential election. After all, way back in 2008 (Aug. 8, to be exact), Politics K-12 guessed that then-Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan could be then-Democratic contender Barack Obama’s pick on Aug. 8. So we’re actually late to the dance this year. This time, there’s not a lot of agreement among the Republicans that I polled
When Obama ran for president the first time, urban poverty was a major policy focus for his campaign. Senator Obama gave speeches on the issue, his campaign Web site had a dedicated poverty section with a variety of policy proposals, and in his platform, he committed his administration to “eradicating poverty,” pledging that “working together, we can cut poverty in half within 10 years.” But the official poverty rate has continued to rise under Obama.
What do the American Ireland Fund, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network have in common? All have received some of the more than $330 million that America’s two largest teachers unions spent in the past five years on outside causes, political campaigns, lobbying and issue education.
Few people close to Romney’s campaign or with experience dealing with him on higher education issues in the past were willing to speak about him publicly. Several Romney education advisers, past and present, did not respond to repeated interview requests from Inside Higher Ed, or declined to comment on the candidate’s record and ideas on higher education. Nor did several people affiliated with private colleges in Massachusetts and the state’s university system during his time as governor. So the education policies and attitudes of a potential Romney administration remain a mystery.
“We want to make great teachers rich.”
I gotta admit, that’s a heck of a pull quote from Sam Dillon’s New York Times story on teachers in Washington, D.C. earning sizeable bonuses for consistently solid performance. (Side note: Sam Dillon is one of the NYT reporters taking a recent buy-out offer. The education beat will be significantly poorer as a result, but I’m looking forward to seeing what he does next with his talents.)
For this 2010 report, researchers surveyed 2,800 people—which included public school teachers and people who live in neighborhoods with more than one charter school. The survey found that Democrats and republicans mostly agreed on matters of education reform.
EWA 2012 National Reporting Contest winner. Crumbling school buildings can impede academic achievement, but what happens when the public votes down bond measures to upgrade the infrastructure? This series of articles looks at the impasse between school boards and the voters, and cost-saving tricks to fine tune the walls of public instruction. (The Journal News)
A look at the education platforms of the candidates for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination.
This report concludes that the models for school boards is outdated and inefficient.
This report offers an in-depth look at the composition of the nation’s 14,000 school boards, including the finding that “school board members, especially those in large districts, are more representative of the communities they serve than state legislatures and members of Congress.
Carrots, Sticks, and the Bully Pulpit: Lessons From a Half-Century of Federal Efforts to Improve America’s Schools
Book edited by Frederick M. Hess and Andrew P. Kelly.
A lighthearted look at the moments in which education took center stage in the 2008 presidential campaign, with links to the original articles.
A look at the progress and prospects for No Child Left Behind as President George W. Bush prepared to leave office.
The absence of education as an issue in the 2008 Congressional elections.
The two candidates launch television attack ads focused on education initiatives.
This study looks at four Michigan cities to examine whether consolidating school board elections with overall municipal elections results in school boards that are more representative of their communities. “These analyses indicate that consolidating elections may lead to increased voter turnout and to changes in the composition of the voting population.
This report offers an in-depth look at the composition of the nation’s 14,000 school boards, including the finding that “school board members, especially those in large districts, are more representative of the communities they serve than state legislatures and members of Congress.
A look at the Pledge of Allegiance as an issue in political campaigns.