Education and the 2018 Elections


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.

Latest News

The Idaho Governor’s Race: What You Need to Know

As retiring Gov. Butch Otter’s successor of choice, Brad Little touts his experience and seeks to assure voters that the state is heading in the right direction. Paulette Jordan decries what she considers a failed Little-Otter administration.

This recurring theme plays out on many issues — particularly education. During an Oct. 15 televised debate, for example, Little and Jordan spent several tense and chippy minutes sparring over Idaho’s place in national education rankings.

Latest News

As Midterms Approach, Here’s What the Latest Polls Show in 16 Key Races With Big Stakes for Schools

It has been a whiplash two years in American politics, and that has trickled down to education policy, from the controversial appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary to heated debates about school safety that have arisen in the wake of several mass school shootings.

Now, with midterm elections only days away, it’s time for voters to weigh those policy choices and decide whether they’d like to make a change.

Latest News

School Board Candidates Are Working to Boost Voter Turnout in Gwinnett County

Georgia voters will find a lot of races on the ballot this election season. Usually, high-profile offices like governor and attorney general are at the top of the ballot. Local races tend to be in the middle or toward the end of the ballot.

Those races, which include school board contests, don’t get as many votes.

Often, school board races attract less than 20 percent of registered voters. A recent analysis found some school board races in Delaware drew an average of 1.8 percent of registered voters.

Latest News

Report: Students Prefer Issue-based Groups Rather Than Political Parties

Ahead of the highly anticipated midterm elections next week, colleges and universities and activists have pushed to get students to the polls — historically a difficult task and especially so off a presidential year.

But the author of a new report on college student civic engagement says that institutions should be considering how to involve students even outside of election season, especially since his research shows that they are more interested in joining campus groups that are issued based, rather than those aligned to a political party.

Latest News

School Safety Tops Young People’s List of Election Concerns. But Will It Lead Them to Vote?

The February school shooting in Parkland, Florida, and subsequent student activism around school safety and gun control are fueling young people’s political engagement ahead of next week’s midterm elections.

“We can argue all we want, but the only way we win the argument [for more gun control] is when we go and we vote on these decisions,” Mei-Ling Ho-Shing, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, said at a conference Friday.

Latest News

Is America’s Next Generation of Voters Ready for the Job?

Erin Mortensen and Leonardo DuPlooy can’t wait to cast their first-ever votes this November—for very different reasons.

DuPlooy, a high school student in rural Hammond, La., wants to support candidates who will have President Donald Trump’s back. Mortensen, a college student in Utah, is looking for a change in direction.

“I see a lot of things happening in the country that I’m not very happy about,” she said, ticking off Trump, climate change, and gun violence as prime examples.

Latest News

Student Voting Rights Fight Erupts at Texas State University

The long early voting line that wrapped around the LBJ Student Center earlier this week was a welcome sign to those at Texas State University who were hoping for strong enthusiasm among young voters on campus.

But with early voting on campus restricted to three days, civil rights attorneys, voting rights advocates and local Democrats are now raising the specter that the hour-and-a-half waits that students faced at the polling location could not only dim student turnout but also violate state and federal law.

Latest News

School Vouchers a Key Difference Between Tenn. Gubernatorial Candidates

In the Tennessee governor’s race, Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean have agreed on a number education issues, including the need to implement vocational training in high school. 

But among the key differences between Lee and Dean is their views on school vouchers — a controversial proposal that relies on publicly funded scholarships to send students to private schools.

Latest News

Non-Citizen Parents Hesitant to Register for San Francisco’s School Board Elections

San Francisco’s efforts to encourage non-citizen parents to vote in school board elections have fizzled.

By the deadline for registering this week, only 49 had signed up, according to the city’s Department of Elections.

The low registration rate means many parents in the city will be unable to weigh in about who should make decisions about their children’s schools and that the school district will have to rely on other ways to engage immigrant parents.

Latest News

Midterms Could Mean Big Changes for State ESSA Plans

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos may have approved every state’s vision for implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act—but that doesn’t mean the plans are all done and dusted.

States can still make changes to their plans. And after the midterm elections in November, many of them may want to. (To be sure, DeVos and company will have to approve major revisions. The U.S. Department of Education is expected to say more about what that process will look in coming weeks and months.)

Latest News

School Board Candidates: Guns for Teachers? No Way.

Five candidates for Teton County School District No. 1’s board of trustees differed on some questions asked Monday at the League of Women Voters forum, but they agreed that arming teachers is a bad idea.

Two school boards in Wyoming voted to arm teachers last year as a school safety tool.

Latest News

Gov. Kate Brown Appointee Delays Release of School Ratings to Post-Election

The Oregon Department of Education, whose leader is hand-picked by Gov. Kate Brown, has decided to delay releasing its annual school performance ratings from Thursday, as had been scheduled, to after the high-stakes Nov. 6 election.

The statistical rankings are ready and have been in school districts’ hands since Oct. 4. Superintendents were provided data about their schools’ ratings and directed they could “prepare press releases” about their district’s showing in advance of the scheduled Oct. 25 release of the ratings to the public.

Latest News

Florida Governor’s Race: DeSantis, Gillum Tout Very Different Education Agendas

Education is a key issue for Florida voters who will pick the state’s next governor, and the two candidates offer starkly different plans.

Republican Ron DeSantis, a former congressman from northwest Florida, wants to continue many of the GOP school-reform plans pushed by state leaders for the past two decades.Those policies — including standardized testing, school grades and private-school vouchers — have led to improved academic achievement for students and more choices for Florida families, his campaign says.

Latest News

S.C. State Chief Candidate Quits Race After Revelations of Felony Record, Fake Degree

Israel Romero, a retired teacher, church trustee, and grandfather, withdrew his bid to be South Carolina’s next state superintendent last week after a local newspaper revealed that he has a prior felony conviction and placed on his résumé at least one degree that can’t be substantiated. 

Romero is a Democrat. His withdrawal from the race comes just a few weeks before South Carolina voters will decide whether to keep the state schools’ chief position an elected one. South Carolina is among a small handful of states where voters elect statewide superintendents.

Latest News

It’s Not Just the Governor’s Race. Here’s What Tennessee’s Big Legislative Turnover Could Mean For Education.

The battle to replace term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam has consumed the spotlight for Tennessee’s education-minded voters, but more than a hundred legislative races will decide who the new governor will work with on school policy for the next few years.

In addition to either Democrat Karl Dean or Republican Bill Lee as the state’s new chief executive, at least a fourth of the General Assembly’s members will be new to Capitol Hill in January. That’s because of an unusually high number of legislative departures, due mostly to retirements or the pursuit of other government jobs.

Latest News

Teachers Running for Office Face Tough Choice: Go Negative or Not?

With an unprecedented number of teachers running for state office during this contentious election season, many candidates will need to make a tough choice: Knowing that their students are watching, are they willing to go negative in their campaign advertisements?

For many teachers running for state legislature, their students are never far from their minds. Many say they decided to run in the first place because they wanted to improve the quality of public education for their students.

Latest News

Rankings, Rankings, Rankings: Fact-Checking Monday’s Gubernatorial Debate

After Monday night, it would be easy to conclude Idaho is a national education leader — or a national embarrassment.

That’s because gubernatorial candidates Brad Little and Paulette Jordan painted diametrically different pictures during a televised debate. And both cited national rankings to make their case.

As usual, the realities are more complicated than the soundbites.

Let’s fact-check what the candidates said on education.