Happy Election Day! Update on Governor's Races

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In the midst of Election Day excitement, I have been watching what gubernatorial candidates are saying about education. I especially focused on the 12 races designated by Real Clear Politics to be tossups (Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin). The biggest debates have been over school funding. In the 12 toss-up states, eight Democratic candidates pledge to increase funding, and four Republican candidates have been accused of cutting education funding. The school funding debate has also brought out some creative math; because cutting education funding is not politically popular, governors who have cut per-pupil funding have been using overall funding or not including inflation to counter attacks that they cut funding.

School voucher programs have also been discussed, completely along party lines; five Republican candidates have recently expressed support for voucher programs, and three Democratic candidates have expressed opposition. Charter schools follow a similar trend; three Republican candidates have expressed support for expanding charters, and two Democratic candidates have expressed opposition to charters or their expansion.

Other issues that emerged recently include local control of education, Common Core teacher pension reform, high-stakes testing, funding portability, and increased support for education infrastructure. Candidates also mostly fall along expected party lines on these issues.

We will be watching the results on these races and Congressional races to be ready for what changes are ahead. If something interesting is unfolding in your state or district that you think I would be interested in, please send it my way (lfinnan@aasa.org)!

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