Education and the 2018 Elections
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.
Voters in Jefferson County narrowly approved a $567 million bond request that will allow the school district to improve its buildings.
Jeffco Measure 5B, the bond request, initially appeared to have failed, even as voters supported Measure 5A, a $33 million mill levy override, a type of local property tax increase, by a comfortable margin. But as late votes continued to be counted between Election Day and today, the gap narrowed — and then the tally flipped.
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.
A Democrat will be Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction for the first time since 1995.
The latest vote tallies showed Monday that Democrat Kathy Hoffman has a 54,000-vote lead over Republican Frank Riggs in the race to be the state’s top education official.
With Monday’s results, there are only about 175,000 votes left to be counted, most of those from Maricopa County. And the latest vote tallies from the state’s largest counties have been breaking heavily in Hoffman’s favor.
In what may be a pivotal moment in the race, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, has maintained his lead over Marshall Tuck in the contest for California’s state superintendent of public instruction based on the ongoing tallying of millions of uncounted ballots.
Thurmond has not only erased the 86,000 vote lead Marshall Tuck enjoyed in the post-election day count, but leads Tuck by just over 74,000 votes, according to the latest figures released Wednesday evening by the California Secretary of State.
Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins takes a clear message from last week’s election, which saw many Floridians vote to tax themselves more to help public schools meet rising costs.
People see the challenges firsthand and “they know they want better,” he said, referring to tax referendums that won approval in Hillsborough and seven other Florida school districts.
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.
Incoming Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers and state lawmakers would need to come up with more than $2 billion just to keep doing what the state already does and provide a healthy increase to schools, according to a new report.
Such a budget situation would be difficult in any year but could prove particularly tricky with split control of state government for the first sustained period since 2011.
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.
In the first big election since teachers across the country walked out of their classrooms this spring, dozens of current teachers claimed state legislative seats—joining the policymaking bodies that greatly influence pay and funding for schools.
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.
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.
After the shooting massacre at a high school in Parkland, Fla., survivors found themselves taking on the National Rifle Association as they crisscrossed the country rallying young adults to register and vote against candidates opposed to gun control.
On Tuesday, the Parkland students got a dose of political reality.
Even before the election, pundits were calling 2018 “the year of the teacher.”
The Christian Science Monitor and the Associated Press both said an unprecedented number of educators sought political office this year. “The teacher strikes pushed a record number of educators to run for office,” wrote Vox, in an article noting that “more than 1,000 teachers will be on the ballots across the country.”
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.
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.”