Education and the 2018 Elections

Overview

Education and the 2018 Elections

With the results in from the midterm elections, the question looms of how the results in federal, state, and local races will affect education policy, politics, and funding.

The political landscape is changed. Twenty states will have a new governor in January. Control of the U.S. House of Representatives will shift to Democrats, while the U.S. Senate will retain its Republican majority.

With the results in from the midterm elections, the question looms of how the results in federal, state, and local races will affect education policy, politics, and funding.

The political landscape is changed. Twenty states will have a new governor in January. Control of the U.S. House of Representatives will shift to Democrats, while the U.S. Senate will retain its Republican majority.

Meanwhile, five state legislative chambers flipped from Republican to Democratic control, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. And in Connecticut, the tied state Senate tipped to Democrats.

As we noted in a blog post right after the election — “How Did Education Fare at the Ballot Box in 2018?” – the story this year was one of seeming contradictions, especially in terms of high-profile state races. 

If that’s not enough to keep an eye on, a host of local school boards around the country will see turnover as a result of the elections. Furthermore, voters weighed in directly on a host of ballot measures, including many that asked them to approve new funding for schools. 

So, even as the elections are over, there is no shortage of important stories for reporters to tell about how the outcomes will reshape education priorities in the coming year, and beyond.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Is This a Political Turning Point for the Teaching Profession?

The journalist Dale Russakoff kept hearing the same word in her conversations with Arizona teachers during a reporting trip last spring for The New York Times Magazine. That word, she said, was “awakening.”

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s Ahead for Private School Choice Policy in 2019?
Vouchers and voucher-like programs may grow in some states, face pushback elsewhere

Arizona voters in November gave a decisive thumbs down to a ballot measure that sought to expand a voucher-like program in that state. The same voters, however, opted by a wide margin to re-elect Republican Gov. Doug Ducey — a champion of private school choice who threw his support behind the failed referendum.

And so it goes. For education overall, the 2018 election outcomes revealed a case of seeming contradictions, as we reported right after the election.

Seminar

72nd EWA National Seminar
Baltimore • May 6-8, 2019

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.

Latest News

How Election Results Will Shake Up State Education Policy

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.

Latest News

Students Learn to Put the ‘Civil’ in Civil Discourse

Inside this high school at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, teenagers are immersed in a project with the potential to temper the divisiveness that is consuming U.S. politics. They’re learning to have calm, balanced conversations about controversial issues.

In two very ordinary classrooms here, students are aware that they’re trying to do something extraordinary, something many adults around them seem unable to do: study a problem, understand the arguments on all sides, and discuss it together to see what solutions might work best for the country.

Seminar

Covering Higher Education’s New Political Landscape

A big increase in college student voter turnout helped flip the U.S. House of Representatives to Democratic control and elected scores of new state and local officials. Now, it’s clear that higher education will be shaped by—and will shape—the new political landscape of 2019.

To help journalists cover the impact of the midterms on education beyond high school, the Education Writers Association is holding a two-day intensive training seminar January 28-29 in Washington, D.C.

Latest News

Who Will Be Tennessee’s Next Education Chief? Gov.-elect Bill Lee Is Getting Lots of Advice

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.

Latest News

Charter School Backers Spent Millions on Statewide Races in 2018. They Still Lost Twice.

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.

Latest News

‘Blue Wave’ Helps Push Thurmond to Victory in California Schools Chief Race

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.

Latest News

Election Clears Some Obstacles for Those Who Want Engler Out at Michigan State

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.

Latest News

Late Votes Deliver a Narrow Win for Jefferson County School Bond Measure

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.

Latest News

Tennesseans Reflect on Candice McQueen’s Legacy Leading the State’s Schools

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.

Latest News

Kathy Hoffman Wins Arizona Schools’ Chief Race

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.

Latest News

Congressional Democrats Seek to Sharply Curtail Restraint, Seclusion of Students

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.