Education-Related Election Updates

Great news! The state of Missouri did not pass its “VAM with a Vengeance” constitutional amendment proposing to tie teacher evaluation to student test scores and require teachers to be dismissed, retained, promoted, demoted, and paid based primarily on the test scores of their students. It was also to require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or less, eliminating seniority and tenure. Well done, voters of Missouri!!

Uncertain news! My state of Arizona is still counting ballots to determine who will be our new State Superintendent of Public Instruction. For the first time in history, we have somebody who actually knows a lot about education running – Dr. David Garcia – an associate professor colleague of mine at Arizona State University who also studies educational policy. He would also be the first Latino elected to a state office in over 30 years. He is running as a Democrat, though, and in a very red state, a win for him and others before him have often turned impossible. His opponent is Diane Douglas, a former school board member who focused everything about her campaign in protest of the Common Core Standards and the federal government’s involvement in state-level educational policies. She ran a low-key campaign, she dodged the media spotlight, and she avoided all but one debate with David during which David literally ate her lunch. BUT lucky for her, she ran on the Republican ticket. While there are still 300,000 votes to be counted, she has a narrow lead which is making many on both sides of the party line very upset with those in our state who perpetually vote along the party line. Even with David drawing some very significant endorsements from Republicans and conservative business groups throughout this red state, the state’s conservative voters continue to dominate. Many agree on this note and “see her success as part of the decisive Republican sweep and not a triumph of ideology.” So very sad for our state is this one here. The next move might just be amend the state constitution and make this a state appointed position in that David is by far the best and most informed candidate our state has likely every had in the running (anonymous phone conversation, this morning ;).

Unfortunate news! As per a recent post by Diane Ravitch, the other election news as related to education was bad. There were many victories for similar people “who hold the public sector in contempt and believe in Social Darwinism. It was a bad night for those who hope for a larger vision of the common good, some vision grander than each one on his own. American history and politics are cyclical. It may require the excesses of this time to bring a turn of the wheel. It’s always darkest just before dawn.”

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