Education and the 2018 Elections
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
A grassroots group of parents successfully overturned the massive school voucher expansion supported by the state’s Republican establishment, as the “no” vote on Proposition 305 won by a wide margin, the Associated Press has projected.
The “no” vote victory on Prop. 305 has major implications for the school-choice movement in Arizona and nationally, as the state has long been ground zero for the conservative issue and Republican leaders have crowned the Empowerment Scholarship Account expansion as a national template.
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.