Why wait until Tuesday night? Get your post-election education analysis right now! First, Kerry should win by a sizeable margin, say Kerry 299 and Bush 239. Eduwonk is uncertain on the popular vote but thinks Kerry will win a reasonably handy margin in the Electoral College. Barring some last minute surprise event, Bush’s act seems to have run its course and around the country there seems to be a decidedly pro-Kerry tenor and we may be seeing the top end of Bush’s support while Kerry still has some room to grow. Indicator to watch with education implications going forward: How well Senator Kerry performs with African-American voters, particularly in the cities.
What will a Kerry win mean for education? Well, most notably and somewhat ironically, it’s probably better for keeping the main thrust of the No Child Left Behind reforms in place. Kerry has put forward a pragmatic and sensible set of ideas for introducing more tools to make NCLB work. Had Bush won, the partisan climate in Washington would have gone from really bad to Sherman-like. Anything associated with Bush would be a target, regardless of its merit, and the conflation of politics and education policy around NCLB would continue in the states.
Kerry will oversee a reauthorization of NCLB that will see some foreseen and unforeseen changes to the law. But it will be a lot easier for him to work with NCLB supporters on the Hill and ensure that the baby is not thrown out with the bathwater than it would be for Bush who would be even more of a lightning rod than he is now.
Kerry offers better policies for higher ed, too, and should put enough priority on education that the backload of stalled reauthorizations gets addressed.
Update II: In the event of October surprises like these, all bets are off.