Wednesday, November 2, 2016

This Election Is About School Funding, Democratic Control of Education

This Election Is About School Funding, Democratic Control of Education:

This Election Is About School Funding, Democratic Control of Education

Image result for big education ape democracy

If you’re one of those voters who’s been frustrated by the lack of media coverage of serious policy issues in this year’s presidential election, you can look down ballot for meaningful debates on meatier topics in a number of other races.
The news outlet Vox provides a video review of the important down-ballot races highlighting issues in play such as women’s reproductive rights, labor, taxes, government spending, heath care, minimum wages, gun control and marijuana legalization. Its review of state judicial races touches on the impact courts have on critical issues such as marriage equality, green energy, and abortion.
But for some reason, Vox completely ignores education. This is stupid.
Because education is the number one or two spending priority in state budgets, competing with health care, education is often a heated topic in gubernatorial races. Similarly in state legislative races, as many as 18 legislative chambers in 12 states could switch party control, including Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Washington, and Wisconsin. Candidates for these offices are generally expected to make their views about public schools a matter of priority in their platforms.
In state judicial races, which the video puts special emphasis on, Vox chose to completely ignore one of the most contentious races in the nation in Washington state, where proponents of charter schools have spent hundreds of thousands to unseat two incumbent State Supreme Court judges. And perhaps most astonishing, Vox provides a brief overview of ballot referendums across the states and completely ignores the colossal contest in Massachusetts, where a proposal to lift a cap on charter schools in that state has generated at least $50 million in campaign spending.
For a run-down of contests where education matters most, Education Week provides an election guide with an extensive review that includes races at all levels, including state education chiefs and school boards.
In a companion article, the reporters see education issues “getting a relatively large amount of attention in states such as California, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Oklahoma,” and in other states, the outcome of many contests “could have a major impact on approaches lawmakers take” to implement the new federal legislation replacing No Child Left Behind Act.
What you’ll notice, if you happen to drill down into the individual races, is that two recurring themes are 1) Who controls schools, and 2) How to save schools from a persistent funding crisis.
Challenging Privatization
In the case of the two ballot measures in Massachusetts and Washington highlighted above, control over local schools hangs precariously in the balance.
In Massachusetts, ballot measure Question 2 allows the state to approve 12 new charter schools a year and hand control of many more public This Election Is About School Funding, Democratic Control of Education:
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