If you’ve been wondering what the elections this week might mean for education, the short answer is—a lot.
Why? A host of reasons, as EdWeek has highlighted in recent stories. First, as almost everyone knows by now, Congress could be in for a sea change if Republicans reclaim a majority in one or both chambers. Most analysts believe the House is especially vulnerable.
Keep in mind that on Congress’ upcoming legislative agenda is an overdue reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (better known these days as the No Child Left Behind Act, though there seems to be bipartisan support for ditching that name). It goes without saying that the federal law, especially under its most recent iteration, has had a profound effect on what goes on (and what doesn’t) in classrooms around the country, mainly because of its testing and accountability demands. Congress will also have to decide whether to provide continued funding for two high-profile initiatives recently created under the federal stimulus law: the Race to the Top and Investing in Innovation (or i3) programs.
But beyond Congress, 37 governorships are up for grabs. In fact, nearly half the states are guaranteed to see a new state leader because of retirements and term limits. As we’ve noted, governors have continued to see growing prominence in shaping education policy and funding levels for a variety of reasons. And then, don’t forget the mayoral races, state legislative contests, and elections for both local and state school boards (including Texas, where the election could drive an important shift in the body’s political balance of power). Oh, and there are also some ballot initiatives worth noting, too.
It all adds up to an election worth paying close attention to. For easy access to all EdWeek has to say about the matter, including stories, an interactive map, and a podcastby my colleagues Sean Cavanagh and Alyson Klein, check out our Election 2010 page. (Be sure to scroll down below the map to see all the stories.)
A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.