Education and the 2018 Elections
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.
School taxes, school choice, Ten Commandments displays in schools and education governance questions are all hot topics in education that voters will weigh in on at the ballot box in November.
Stark differences in how Colorado’s two would-be governors plan to tackle early childhood issues were clear at a candidate forum Monday evening.
Republican lieutenant governor candidate Lang Sias, who stood in for gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, said Republicans would focus public funds on narrower programs that benefit the poorest children.
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.
With less than two months until Election Day, the effort to pass two referendums to increase funding for Indianapolis Public Schools is gaining momentum. Almost every day, campaign workers are fanning out across Indianapolis to seek support from voters.
And Superintendent Lewis Ferebee is stopping by community meetings across the district to make his case that the district needs taxpayers’ help.
This multi-pronged approach illustrates how high the stakes are for the district, which aims to raise $272 million to prevent an even more dire financial situation.
Spending in the campaign for state superintendent of public instruction in California is expected to break records once again this fall, as charter school advocates and labor organizations focus on the race.
Although the Nov. 6 ballot will include races for governor and U.S. Senate, it is the nonpartisan contest between Democrats — Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond and Marshall Tuck, a former charter school executive — for an office with limited power that is expected to attract the most money during the general election.
So far Duval County’s three School Board races look like a lopsided battle for money.
On one side, three candidates endorsed by a host of business and political groups have amassed many times more money than their opponents. They say their fundraising success reflects broad support for their vision for Duval public schools.
On the other side are three financial underdogs who say voters are skeptical of so much money, suspecting there are strings attached.
A longstanding threat to charter school growth could become more pressing this year now that progressive Democrats are poised to claim more seats in New York’s State Senate.
More than half a dozen incumbent senators who have supported charter schools lost their primary challenges Thursday, leaving charter advocates without key allies in Albany at a time when lawmakers will have to act if many more of the publicly funded, privately managed schools are to open.
Wisconsin’s massive gap in academic performance between its black and white students is under the spotlight of the governor’s race as the candidates blame each other for not doing more to address the persistent problem.
Wisconsin has held the distinction among states of having the largest gap in academic performance between its black and white students by some measures and that disparity has only shrunk slightly in the past 10 years, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.
If Democrats take control of the House of Representatives next year, expect civil rights to grab the spotlight and for congressional subpoenas in the name of education oversight to become more popular. But you may not see as much of U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as some might think.
Democrats think 2018 is their year, and they’re using education—and educators—to make their case.
On Wednesday, the Democratic National Committee highlighted teachers and others with education connections who are running for Congress and other elected offices. The committee said Dems are “running and winning by making education central to their campaigns” and that these candidates “want better pay for teachers and better schools for every child.”
Democratic gubernatorial nominee Drew Edmondson released his education platform on Thursday and drew an endorsement from former University of Oklahoma President David Boren.
Boren is a former Oklahoma governor and U.S. senator.
Edmondson, a former Oklahoma attorney general, teacher, legislator and district attorney, faces Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt, the Republican nominee, in the Nov. 6 general election. Libertarian Chris Powell is also on the ballot.
There’s no silver bullet when it comes to improving education in the state, says Bill Lee, Tennessee’s Republican candidate for governor.
“There’s no one answer to this — it’s going to be a broad approach,” Lee, a fourth generation cattle farmer and president of a $250 million home care services company, told Chalkbeat during a brief interview Wednesday.
Lee was in Memphis as part of a 95-county campaign tour, which included a stop at the Memphis charter Libertas School.
New Mexico’s next governor will face an uphill climb when it comes to improving the state’s public education system.
While student proficiency scores and graduation rates have inched up during Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration, the state remains at or near the bottom of most national rankings assessing the quality of public education. As Martinez discovered, big steps are hard to come by.
Two hopefuls aiming to grab a rare vacant seat on the Pasco County School Board appeared on track to a face-off in November.
Hudson attorney Tara O’Connor and Fox Hollow Elementary teacher Megan Harding each held about a third of the vote, with all but some mail ballots counted.
Candidates Mike Aday and Kassie Hutchinson trailed.
“Woo-hoo! I’m super excited,” Harding said when reached at her campaign party. “Obviously, the community agrees we need to put a teacher on the School Board.”
Most of the candidates running for Hamilton County school boards this November will have to fight for a spot.
The deadline to file as a school board candidate was noon Friday, and the updated list shows some current board members running for re-election will face opposition, including current Carmel Clay Schools board president Layla Spanenberg.
Seven candidates filed to run for Noblesville Schools’ two open board seats.
This election comes as many Hamilton County school districts face big decisions.
Five days into a statewide teacher walkout, Sarah Carnes was scrolling through her social media feeds when she came across a Facebook post asking if a teacher in the Mustang area would be willing to run for an open state House seat in the upcoming election.
Carnes, who is an art teacher at Mustang High School, had spent the previous week with thousands of other educators at the state Capitol, demanding that lawmakers increase funding for schools, only to be told repeatedly that the level of increase being sought was not going to happen.
Three weeks into taking over as Pennsylvania’s governor in 2015, Tom Wolf began his push to send money into public schools across the state.
The plan he announced that day in the Coatesville School District — for a new tax on natural gas drilling — hasn’t been enacted. Nor has his call in his first budget to dramatically ramp up the state’s share of education funding. More dollars have flowed from the state to school districts during Wolf’s tenure. But the increase is less than what he aimed to achieve.
The fate of a controversial program to train Brevard County school employees to carry guns at schools across the county could be decided in this upcoming school board election.
Three months ago, the school board voted 3-2 to postpone indefinitely Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey’s Sheriff-trained Onsite Marshal Program, also known as STOMP, to prepare employees who volunteer for the program to carry concealed guns on campuses.
In Waterbury, Conn., where she taught high school history, Jahana Hayes always told her students to never become resigned to the challenging conditions they grew up in. Hayes, who was raised amid drug addiction and became a mother before she graduated high school, understood firsthand her students’ struggles with poverty and broken homes.
Tuesday, she defied expectations, besting veteran politician Mary Glassman, a former first selectman in Simsbury, Conn. Hayes won with 62 percent of the vote.