Morning After

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.

11 Replies to “Morning After”

  1. The people are emerging from the fog of recession to find that their schools are being stolen by educational grifters, just as I knew they would.

    Choice? Of course. Taking over the public schools to make a profit? No. No. No.

  2. It would be great if the reelected administration were willing to change direction in its definition of education reform, but Dana Goldstein for one is reporting that that is unlikely to happen, and that’s a pity. The reformers’ teacher evaluation models are being driven, in part, by the mentality of Wall Street hedge fund managers’ approaches to human resources, in spite of the lack of evidence that this is appropriate for or will work in a non-profit educational environment. I still deeply believe that the president himself, with his cautionary remarks about avoiding “teaching to the test”, has better instincts about the direction we need to move in with regard to education than do the political elements that have long been angling for influence with his administration’s policies.

  3. Charter school advocates and operators poured big money into Santa Clara County, California, to defeat Anna Song, a school board member who had dared to vote against a charter school.

    Song was outspent overwhelmingly, by 25-1, yet she won.

    This is a victory for parents and citizens against privatization.

    A reader sends this update:

    On a positive note, the huge investment in Santa Clara failed miserably. The Charter Industry spent something like $250k (against the incumbent’s $10k or so) to launch a smear campaign against a woman who voted against the renewal of one charter school. They even went after her husband. She still won in a landslide.

    In another encouraging election here in Los Altos, CA, a charter-backed candidate who was the biggest single fund raiser also went down in flames. Part of her strategy was to hide the fact that she was associated with the charter school. Despite winning major endorsements including that of our local paper-of-record, she lost by a huge margin.

    I think we need to be realistic on these elections: you can’t spend next to nothing and expect to defeat billionaire-backed campaigns. But the truth gives us huge leverage–10 to 1 in many cases.

  4. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder was rebuked by voters yesterday as they repealed the law that gave dictatorial powers to emergency managers appointed by the governor to control fiscally distressed districts.

    Public Act 4 of 2011 was rejected by a vote of 52-48.

    Snyder installed emergency managers to take control of public education in Detroit, Highland Park, and Muskegon Heights. The managers in the two small districts abolished public education and handed the students to for-profit charter chains to run. The Detroit emergency manager imposed a drastic plan to lay off teachers, privatize many schools, and increase class sizes.

    The law enabled the governor to suspend democracy and impose one-man rule. It also allowed him to evade the state’s responsibility to provide public schools on every district in the state and to deal with fiscal crises with draconian measures.

  5. 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.
    In other words, actions that have no benefit for children.
    Reform for Reform’s sake.

  6. So on Tuesday night, when Petrilli learned that Bennett had lost his election in an upset against Glenda Ritz, the state’s teacher of the year, he let out a stream of expletives. “Tony Bennett! Sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t sh*t,” he said. “You can quote me on that.”

    Not only did Bennett lose, but his opponent had garnered more votes than governor-elect Mike Pence (R).

  7. God bless the men and women IN THE FRAY every single day in math and science classrooms around California.

    I see your work product at UC Berkeley and IT IS OUTSTANDING.

    Keep up the good work. You are in my thoughts each and every day. I know who does the REAL work. Do not get discouraged. Do not give up. Give it your best.

    YOUR students depend upon you. YOUR COUNTRY IS DEPENDING UPON YOU.

    I salute you for your selfless service.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.