I’ll write more about the election later and am doing a post-election debrief panel at AEI with Rick Hess tomorrow morning. But a few quick education angles that jump out:
Good night for charters. The wins for measures in GA and WA are a signal that the issue is maturing. Bad night for ballot initiatives on teacher pay, evaluation, etc…defeats in ID and SD, and the issue played a role in IN. Forget what you thought of the specifics of any of those measures, there is a message in how voters perceived them. The same is true of Idaho where all three of state education chief Tom Luna’s initiatives went down. Teachers unions have to feel pretty good about that.
In Indiana, biggest education surprise of the night nationally was the defeat of Tony Bennett, the state’s school chief. He’s a Republican but Democrats nationally were fond of him. He seems to have gotten caught in a pincer between conservatives upset about his friendliness to the Common Core standards and an education establishment upset about his unwillingness to pull any punches and his support for ambitious and disruptive reform. Still, political insiders in IN surprised (shocked) by the outcome, especially given that Republican Mike Pence won the statehouse. Unclear exactly what it’s going to take to wake up Common Core supporters that they have a political problem that is far deeper than a few activists with email lists.
In Maryland the state version of the DREAM Act passed, and by a wide margin. Will that embolden skittish politicians to do something on immigration reform? Stay tuned.
And in New Orleans Sarah Usdin decisively won a school board seat in a three-way race. Usdin, the founder and former leader of New Schools for New Orleans*, is closely identified with charter schools but that didn’t appear to create the headwind opponents thought. Diane Ravitch made a big show of contributing to one of Usdin’s opponents. Guess David Simon will have to rewrite that episode…
Overall around the country the message seems to be that people want better schools, but not too fast! For the Obama Administration obviously a good night on the big on, but some warning signs on education.
Update: Everyone is focusing on the exit poll numbers and the President’s performance among Latinos or Romney’s under-performance among that part of the electorate. That matters to our politics and is going to be an education politics issue, too, given the poor jobs schools are doing with this fast growing group.
*BW works with NSNO and my wife contributed to Usdin’s race.