Yes, this presidential election is very important to the future of public schools. And yes, the campaign is shaping up to be a fascinating barn-burner. But as I’ve been scanning headlines from across the country, I’ve been reminded that the nuts-and-bolts of running schools—from how many teachers a school can afford to hire to what kind of after-school programs a district can offer—are determined by state and local politicians, many of whom will be elected or re-elected this year.
Headlines from major newspapers across the country—just from the last week—foreshadow daunting budget tasks that politicians will tackle in the coming couple of years.
In Kentucky: “Possible education cuts spur fear,” Courier-Journal, Jan. 12.
California: “Governor’s budget would be a major setback for schools”,” San Diege Union-Tribune, Jan. 13.
New Mexico: “2008 Legislature: School districts scale back requests for state funds,” Santa Fe New Mexican, Jan. 13.
Kansas: “Budget worries shadow new Kansas legislative session,” The Kansas City Star, Jan. 14.
Alabama: “With budget cuts on horizon, Alabama Education Association won’t seek teacher raises for 2009,” Birmingham News, Jan. 10.
Nevada: “School officials try to plan for cuts amid uncertainty,” Las Vegas Review-Journal, Jan. 8.