Education and the 2018 Elections
Survey of Teen Voters: What’s on Their Minds as Election Nears?
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Millions of young people — including many college students and some still in high school — will get their first chance to vote in a general election in November. What is on the minds of these youths, who have come of age in the time of President Trump and when the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., have helped to catalyze a surge of student activism?
It looks like the U.S. House of Representatives stands a good chance of flipping to Democratic control in the fall, but the Senate is much more likely to stay in Republican hands.
Still, there are nine Senate match-ups currently rated as “Toss-Ups” by the Cook Political Report, which tracks congressional races. Five of those are in seats currently held by Democrats, and four by Republicans. The GOP has a one vote edge in the Senate right now, 51 to 49, but that could tick up after the election if many of the toss-ups go GOP.
Supporters of the $600 million-plus city education levy on Seattle’s Nov. 6 ballot have reason to be confident. For the most part.
They have raised nearly $300,000, have no organized opposition and have seen voters approve similar measures four times before. This Election Day’s edition includes programs for people all the way from preschool tots through K-12 students to adults in community college.
But the proponents of Seattle Proposition No. 1 also have some cause to be wary.
If Sherri Ybarra and Cindy Wilson had their last big face-to-face showdown Friday night, it showed.
The two state schools superintendent’s candidates took turns going on the offensive during a debate, aired statewide on Idaho Public Television. Ybarra repeatedly touted her experience and tried to paint her opponent as uninformed. Vowing repeatedly to “show up” for kids, Wilson painted the incumbent as out of touch, and accused Ybarra of misrepresenting the record on her school safety plan.
What Will the 2018 Election Results Mean for Education?
National Press Club • November 9, 2018
1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
No matter which way the 2018 elections go, one thing is clear: The outcome is sure to have big consequences for P-12 and higher education. Not only is control of the U.S. Congress in question, but 36 governors are on the ballot, along with 6,000 state legislative seats, seven state superintendents, plus countless local school board races.
If you watch the campaign ads for governor in Wisconsin, you see both sides talking past each other much of the time.
Democrats have been talking about roads and health care. Republicans have been talking about taxes and public safety.
There is only one issue that both sides are hammering away at in their broadcast TV ads, and that is education.
It’s hard to overstate the potential implications for education in the 2018 elections. The reasons have less to do with the high-profile battle for control of Congress. It’s really about the volume of state-level contests in November.
More than half of the nation’s 13 elected state superintendent positions are up for grabs this fall.
But in South Carolina this year, there’s a twist: As voters go to the polls to vote on their new state chief, they’ll also decide whether the general public—or the state’s governor—is best fit to select who should be in charge of improving the state’s schools.
In May, after massive teacher strikes shook up politics in a half-dozen states and thousands of teachers returned to the classroom fresh off the picket lines, a central question lingered: Was the “educator spring,” as the teacher walkouts were dubbed, a one-off event or just a taste of what’s to come?
Tom Rulseh was baffled by the email from an angry constituent. Why, the woman demanded to know, had the Three Lakes School District allowed Gov. Scott Walker to film a campaign ad in a public school that had nearly been forced to close thanks in part to Walker’s own budget cuts?
The ad, it turned out, featured employees and teachers from the rural Wisconsin district praising Walker’s education policies. “Governor Walker has been very helpful to us with state funding,” claimed one school board member in the ad.
Education was front and center in the debate Tuesday night between Williamson County businessman Bill Lee and former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
“It’s critically important that every single Tennessee student, every kid in Tennessee has access to a quality education through their school system,” said Lee, a Republican. He added that Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dorsey Hopson supports his campaign.
Lee, 58, praised the Innovation Zone schools in SCS, struggling schools being turned around with new leadership and more autonomy from the district.
GOP Candidate Ron DeSantis and Others Want to Put the Constitution ‘Back’ in Florida Schools. It’s Already There.
Dawn Brown cued up a Discovery video about the 1689 English Bill of Rights, and told her seventh-grade civics students to pay close attention to the details.
“This is where the ideas for our Bill of Rights came from,” Brown said, referring to the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
The students at Crews Lake Middle in Pasco County had been studying the documents that undergird America’s governmental philosophy, with plans to get into some of the key principles — due process, separation of powers, natural rights — the following week.
Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidates Tom Wolf and Scott Wagner have continued to trade barbs over education policy.
Wolf has hit Wagner twice in recent weeks, first by connecting the former state senator to lightning-rod U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
DeVos’s cabinet nomination drew fierce opposition, particularly from teachers’ unions, a key Democratic constituency. Soon after the most recent campaign filings, Wolf’s camp seized on the DeVos connection in a press release about “DeVos’s dark money group.”
Politicians on the state campaign trail this year are making some eye-popping promises for parents and educators: billions more dollars for schools, double-digit pay raises for teachers, and hundreds of millions more to replace dilapidated schoolhouses.
And in some states, Democrats are going so far as to broach a topic often seen as off-limits in election season: tax increases.
Florida Gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis has lambasted the Broward school district for giving large raises to 11 administrators.
He even suggested the managers should pay the money back.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Friday that the district had given raises of between 7 percent and 21 percent to some administrators last year, while providing 2.2 percent raises to most employees. The district said the increases were given to correct pay inequities.
“Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos wants to decimate funding to our public schools,” warns a Facebook ad from Mikie Sherrill, who is running for an open U.S. House of Representatives seat in New Jersey. Another, from Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who is running for re-election, tells voters, “It’s time to fire Betsy DeVos.”
And in the U.S. Senate race in Nebraska, Democrat Jane Raybould, a Lincoln City councilwoman, attacked Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., in a recent debate for casting the “decisive” vote in favor of DeVos’ confirmation back in 2017.
School choice hasn’t played prominently in the competitive Georgia governor’s race, but advocates are quietly growing concerned about the fate of the state’s tax credit scholarship program that provides nearly 14,000 students with private school scholarships.
Kate Brown is proud of her record on education during the 3½ years she’s served as Oregon’s governor. Spending is up 22 percent, 1,300 more low-income children have access to free preschool each year, and the graduation rate rose 3 percentage points in two years, a faster rate than in prior years.
But her Republican challenger, Knute Buehler, sees a legacy of failure. Test scores and college-going rates are mediocre and haven’t improved. Most troubling, he said, the state’s graduation rate remains the third-worst in the nation.
In less than six weeks, Georgians will elect a new governor. Both major candidates — Republican Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams — say they’d make public education a priority.
They even agree on a few issues. Both have pledged to fully fund schools through the state’s Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula. They both want to beef up reading programs, reduce testing and pay teachers more.
But they also disagree on plenty.
Last fall, Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker used Southern Door High School’s newly installed 3D printing lab in this small town near Green Bay as a backdrop to propose a $639 million increase in public school funding.
“We know that ensuring our students’ success, both in and outside the classroom, is critical to the state’s continued economic success,” said Walker, now in a fierce campaign for a third term against long-time state schools chief Tony Evers.