Teaching Profession

Teachers Running for Office: A Roundup of Who Won and Lost

By Madeline Will — November 09, 2018 1 min read

In the midterm elections, 42 current teachers won legislative seats—but many more lost their races.

It was a mixed bag of results for the nearly 180 K-12 teachers who had vied to become a part of the policymaking bodies that greatly influence pay and funding for schools. In Oklahoma, the state with 66 teachers who ran for the statehouse, just six were ultimately successful.

“It could have cohered into a clear story—a wave story—but in fact, it’s more of a patchwork,” Jeffrey Henig, the director of the program in politics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University, told my colleague Sarah Schwartz. “This will be disappointing to some folks who were very excited and envisioned a teacher wave.”


See also: Dozens of Teachers Were Elected to State Office. Many More Fell Short


From July to November, Education Week kept track of the scores of teachers who ran for their statehouses. While this database is not comprehensive, the analysis does give a snapshot of teachers who decided to seek political office and how they fared.

Note: In at least four states—Alabama, Alaska, Missouri, and Michigan—current teachers are not allowed to serve in the state legislatures.

For a video recap, check out this Facebook Live where Education Week assistant managing editor Liana Loewus and I break down how teachers fared in the election.

Image: John Waldron, a teacher running for House District 77, gives his victory speech at the Democratic watch party held at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame on Nov. 6, in Tulsa, Okla. —Brandi Simons for Education Week


For more coverage on teachers and the midterm elections, see:

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.