Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Election Thoughts

I have seen the election, at the federal level, described as status quo...same President, Republicans still control the House, and Democrats still control the Senate.  What does that mean for us?
  • We know what the President's stance on education is, will see more of the same, and the waivers should stay in force. 
  • Will Arne Duncan will remain Secretary of Education?
  • With the waivers in place and similar agendas among Republicans and Democrats I don't see a big push to re-authorize ESEA.
  • Will this Congress address the financial issues that lay before it? 
Around the country several elections were being watched.
  • An effort in Bridgeport, CT to turn over control of the schools to the mayor was defeated. The effort to get mayoral control was heavily funded by outside groups.
  • Indiana will see a change their state commissioner of education -- they elected theirs. The incumbent was heavily funded by education reform groups.
  • Georgia voters look to have approved charter schools. The measure was heavily funded by for-profit charter providers who will no doubt benefit from the change.
  • Big money was poured into school board elections in several places.  The funds came from education reform groups.  The results were a mixed bag.
  • Washington voters look to have approved charters.  Prior efforts had been defeated.  This time the push to approve was funded by some billionaires.
At the state level:
  • Proposition B, the 70 cent increase in cigarette taxes, was defeated.  Attempts to increase the tax have now failed in 2002, 2006, and 2012.  Missouri's tax is 17 cents, while the national average is somewhere between $1.46 and $1.49.  In 2006 opponents of the tax were able to define it in a way that most folks thought it was an increase on the fuel tax.  Perhaps that was the case again.  A closer look at the numbers show the metropolitan areas and Boone County support the increase, but rural Missouri does not.
  • The Missouri Legislature has gotten more lopsided.  The Republicans control the House at 110 to 53 and the Senate at 25 to 9.  The provides a veto-proof majority.  Even though Governor Nixon was re-elected, his veto pen just got a lot weaker.  Educators will likely get a bill through that is sorely needed, but we may be in trouble on some others.
And more locally:
  • There was no opposition on the county races.
  • Bryan Spencer won the newly created 63rd House District that constitutes Wright City, Foristell, and Wentzville.  We'll be reaching out to him to build a relationship.  Bart Korman now represents only the very southern part of the school district.
  • Proposition K, the 1/2 sales tax to fund children's services in Warren County, was defeated for the second time.  Warren County youth metrics continue to lag behind other counties in the area.
And so it's over...for now.  Candidates for 2016 are already starting to be mentioned.  Hopefully our newly elected leaders will do the serious work that needs to be done.  For a brief period they can actually do their job instead of trying to keep their job.

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