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Election Night in the States, Deconstructed

By Michele McNeil — November 05, 2008 1 min read
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In the midst of your excitement—or your depression—over theelection of Barack Obama as president, don’t overlook the importance of what happened at the state level for education.

Democrats made inroads in statehouses, too, but it wasn’t a blow-out, as my updated story details.

These races are important because state legislators and governors will have to craft new state budgets—and determine funding levels for K-12 education—in the midst of one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression.

Maryland policymakers will get a little help from slot machines, which were approved last night by a fairly wide margin and could bring in about $600 million a year for schools.

After the election, Democrats now control 58 legislative chambers to 37 for Republicans (one chamber is tied--the Alaska Senate--and two are still undecided.) Five chambers flipped to Democratic control, and four to Republican, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Democrats also control 29 governor’s offices after they took Missouri, where Attorney General Jay Nixon won. Republican Gov. Matt Blunt, a supporter of vouchers, did not seek re-election. Vouchers had started to gain traction in Missouri, so the National Education Association already this morning is celebrating the switch to Democratic control here.

One important race for education was still undecided this morning: the Washington State superintendent of education’s post. Terry Bergeson, who is seeking her fourth term, was trailing union official Randy Dorn this morning. She was locked in a fierce battle with the Washington Education Association, which did not endorse her and has opposed her stance of support of high-stakes testing.

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