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 welcomed a new governor in January 2019. Control of the U.S. House of Representatives shifted to Democrats, while the U.S. Senate retained 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 welcomed a new governor in January 2019. Control of the U.S. House of Representatives shifted to Democrats, while the U.S. Senate retained 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 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 saw 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.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

The State of Early Learning in Your State
A pair of new reports shed light on the well-being of children across the U.S.

The best way to predict the future is to look at how children are faring. But the task is complicated given that the well-being of children varies widely from state to state. 

That’s what data presented by researchers Sarah Daily of Child Trends and W. Steven Barnett of the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University show. The duo offered their takes on the state of early care and learning across the United States at the Education Writers Association’s 2019 annual conference in Baltimore. 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What Are the Rules for Charter Schools? It Depends.
In wake of 2018 elections, more change is afoot in states

In the often-heated debates over charter schools, it’s easy for the public — and reporters — to see them as monolithic.

A recent report on charter school laws serves as a good reminder that ground rules for the sector — and not just the profiles of individual schools — often vary significantly from state to state.

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 Johns 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.

Seminar

Covering Higher Education’s New Political Landscape
Washington, D.C. January 28-29, 2019

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.

Key Coverage

Tough Lessons: Teachers Fall Short in Midterm Races

After falling short in her race for the state legislature, high school history teacher Jenny Urie returned to her central Kentucky classroom, suddenly doubtful of just how far a grassroots uprising to bolster public education could go.

As massive walkouts over teacher salaries and school funding inspired many teachers to run for office, Urie was among at least 36 current and former educators on the ballot for the legislature in Kentucky. Two-thirds of them lost.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Did Education Fare at the Ballot Box in 2018?

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.

Key Coverage

Midterm Elections in the Classroom: Local Issues and Longstanding Themes

How do you make the midterm elections come alive, especially for students who already feel disenfranchised? That was the challenge faced by Chelsea Ann Hittel, a social studies teacher at the Heather Ridge School, an alternative middle and high school in Frederick County, Md. Most of her students attend the school because they didn’t succeed in a regular high school curriculum; many are on individualized education programs. “The curriculum for government is very dry and unengaging, honestly. Kids come into government already hating it. They think it’s going to be boring,” Hittel said.

Key Coverage

Teaching the Midterm Elections: Voter Turnout and Its Implications – Curriculum Matters

Today, we’re highlighting Kathleen Argus, a teacher at the Institute of Technology, a public high school in Syracuse, N.Y., who teachers a 12th grade active citizenship course. 

Teaching about elections poses some particular challenges in New York, a state that nearly always winds up blue in presidential elections thanks to the dominance of New York City. So, from a certain angle, the midterms are even more important for the state’s electorate: That’s where upstate districts and counties can really make their voting power felt. 

EWA Radio

Get Out the (Teen) Vote
How school shootings, Trump, and campus activism are shaping civic engagement
(EWA Radio: Episode 188)

What’s on the minds of teens eligible to vote for the first time this year? Where do they get the news and information that’s shaping their views of candidates? How have their families, school experiences, and recent current events like the Parkland school shooting and President Trump’s agenda influenced their political awareness? Alyson Klein of Education Week takes us inside the publication’s new poll of voters ages 18 and 19, sharing insights from follow-up interviews with some survey respondents.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

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.

Key Coverage

Where Prospective, First-Time Voters Get Informed

Nick Brown turned 18 in September and will vote for the first time in November. But the Brandon, S.D., resident admits he has some research to do.

“As of right now I know nothing,” said Brown, whose high school law and government teacher registered voting-age students in class. “I don’t follow politics at all, so I need to educate myself before I go in and vote.”