Federal

Five New Governors to Watch On Education

By Alyson Klein — November 08, 2018 4 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The country just elected at least 17 new governors. And thanks in part to the Every Student Succeeds Act and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ efforts to shrink the U.S. Department of Education, governors will have even more say in K-12 education.

Here are few new faces to keep your eye on:

Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, R-Fla.: (As of Thursday afternoon, this nailbiter of an election appeared headed for a recount, though DeSantis’ Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum had conceded earlier in the week.) DeSantis, a congressman, ran as an unabashed Trump supporter in a state where K-12 is still largely defined by policies set in motion by former Gov. Jeb Bush, also a Florida Republican. Bush was a fan of both school choice—Florida’s tax credit scholarship program was established on his watch—and accountability, through Florida’s A through F system for grading schools. He was also a huge fan of the Common Core State Standards. DeSantis campaigned on going even further on choice, in part by raising the cap on the number of students who can receive private school vouchers through the tax credit scholarship program. He wants to allocate 80 percent of K-12 spending directly to the classroom, and provide more funding for merit pay bonuses to outstanding teachers. And he wants to “direct a complete review of Florida’s curriculum standards to ensure that we are not rubber-stamping common core or any other one-size-fits-all standards.” (The common ore is still on the books in Florida and 33 other states, plus the District of Columbia.) He’ll have a Republican-controlled legislature backing him up.

Gov.-elect Tony Evers, D-Wis.: The state education chief wants to increase education spending by $1.4 billion, including new investments in early-childhood education and quality child care, special education, after-school programs, and mental health services. He is seeking to phase out the Milwaukee school voucher program. But he’s likely to face stiff opposition to those moves from the state legislature, which remains in GOP control. Evers made “equity” the theme of his term as president of the Council of Chief State School Officers. In an interview with Education Week in 2016, Evers recalled that when ESSA became law, an influential civil rights leader in his state tweeted that he’d lived through states’ rights and it hadn’t worked out very well, a reference to segregation. “I took that to heart, I took it as a personal obligation” to make equity for all groups a central tenet of Wisconsin’s plan.

Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M. - Lujan Grisham, a congresswoman, campaigned on increasing K-12 funding and teacher pay, establishing universal pre-kindergarten, and limiting testing. She wants to ditch the PARCC tests, the state’s A through F grading system, and its rigorous teacher evaluation system, which relies in part on growth in student test scores. She’ll likely have backing from the state legislature, which is under Democratic control.

Gov.-elect Laura Kelly, D-Kan. - Kansas schools have been struggling financially since former Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican, slashed both taxes and K-12 spending. The state supreme court has said Kansas has until the end of the next legislative session to hike education funding or risk having public schools shutdown. Kelly, a state senator, favored complying with the court’s demands and finding new money for public schools. She also wants to invest in early-childhood education, career and technical education, and student mental health. But she’ll have to convince a Republican controlled legislature to go along with her plans.

Gov.-elect Jared Polis, D-Colo. - As a member of the House, Polis was a big supporter of charter schools and President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top initiative, which rewarded states for embracing high standards, teacher evaluations based in part on student outcomes, and more. He also worked across the aisle on data-privacy legislation. On the campaign trail, he pledged to fund full-day kindergarten and expand access to preschool. The Democratic-controlled legislature may be on the same page, but Colorado has some major restrictions on raising revenue, and a ballot initiative to increase taxes to pay for schools wasn’t approved.

Ron DeSantis and his wife Casey celebrate after winning the Florida Governor’s race during DeSantis’ party at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Fla. --Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel via AP

Democrat Laura Kelly talks to the crowd at the Ramada Hotel and Convention Center in Topeka, Kan., after she defeated Republican Kris Kobach Tuesday night to become the next Kansas governor. --Thad Allton/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tony Evers, left, and lieutenant governor candidate Mandela Barnes claim victory at their watch party, early Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wis. Gov. Scott Walker narrowly lost his bid for a third term to Evers. --Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP

New Mexico Gov.-elect Michelle Lujan-Grisham waves to supporters following her acceptance speech in Albuquerque. -- Juan Labreche/AP

Democrat Jared Polis walks onto the stage at an election night watch party in Denver with running mate Dianne Primavera upon defeating Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for Colorado governor. --AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via AP


Don’t miss another State EdWatch post. Sign up here to get news alerts in your email inbox. And make sure to follow @StateEdWatch on Twitter for the latest news from state K-12 policy and politics.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Pandemic Tests Limits of Cardona's Collaborative Approach as Education Secretary
He's sought the image of a veteran educator among former peers, but COVID has forced him to take a tough stance toward some state leaders.
10 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during their visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter speak to Mia Arias, 10, during a visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal White House Launches Hispanic Education Initiative Led by Miguel Cardona
President Joe Biden said his administration intends to address the "systemic causes" of educational disparities faced by Hispanic students.
2 min read
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona writes down and draws positive affirmations on poster board with students during his visit to P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021 in New York.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona visits students in New York City at P.S. 5 Port Morris, a Bronx elementary school in the Bronx last month.
Brittainy Newman/AP
Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP