Education and the 2018 Elections

Overview

Education and the 2018 Elections

The stakes for education are high in the 2018 midterm elections. But the reasons go far beyond whether President Donald Trump will still have a Republican-controlled Congress. A host of state and local races, including gubernatorial and school board contests, will matter -- a lot.

The stakes for education are high in the 2018 midterm elections. But the reasons go far beyond whether President Donald Trump will still have a Republican-controlled Congress. A host of state and local races, including gubernatorial and school board contests, will matter — a lot.

To be sure, if Democrats gain a majority in the House, as some predict, that would change the political dynamics over federal policy and funding on education, and Congress’ oversight of the U.S. Department of Education. But so many key decisions on education are made at the state and local levels.

Thirty-six governors’ seats are in play this November, including for the nation’s five most populous states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania. In 17 of those states, the sitting governor is not seeking re-election.

Also, elections in state legislatures across the nation could tip the balance of power from one party to the other in some places. (One story angle that has gained traction this year is the large number of educators running for elected office, especially state legislative seats. Education Week has developed a database identifying more than 150 teacher-candidates. Of those, 101 have advanced to the general election.)

Meanwhile, voters will choose a state superintendent of schools in seven of the 13 states where the post is elected, according to Ballotpedia. Those states are Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming.

If that’s not enough to keep an eye on, school board seats in a host of districts from coast to coast will be on the November ballot. These elections can have a profound impact. After all, school boards set local policy and regulations, hire the superintendent, adopt the curriculum, and oversee implementation of state and federal requirements. They also oversee millions — and in the case of some large districts, billions — of dollars in education funding.

When it comes to school board races, local education journalists can play a critical role in raising awareness — and deepening public understanding — about contests that often slip under the public radar but can have big consequences.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How Did Education Fare at the Ballot Box in 2018?

What was the big takeaway for education in the 2018 elections? Sorry if this disappoints, but there just doesn’t appear to be a clear, simple story to tell. It was an election of seeming contradictions.

This was especially true in gubernatorial races, which matter a lot, given the key role state leaders play in education.

EWA Radio

Get Out the (Teen) Vote
How school shootings, Trump, and campus activism are shaping civic engagement
(EWA Radio: Episode 188)

What’s on the minds of teens eligible to vote for the first time this year? Where do they get the news and information that’s shaping their views of candidates? How have their families, school experiences, and recent current events like the Parkland school shooting and President Trump’s agenda influenced their political awareness? Alyson Klein of Education Week takes us inside the publication’s new poll of voters ages 18 and 19, sharing insights from follow-up interviews with some survey respondents.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s Motivating Teens to Vote?
Education Week survey, national polls offer insights into young voters

In a new national survey, concern about the February shootings at a high school in Parkland, Fla., was the top reason cited by eligible teen voters as motivating them to cast a ballot. And students who said they had taken civics classes were also more likely to say they planned to exercise their right to vote in the midterm elections.

Survey of Teen Voters: What’s on Their Minds as Election Nears?
Webinar

Survey of Teen Voters: What’s on Their Minds as Election Nears?
Get embargoed access to Education Week data, analysis at reporters-only webinar

Millions of young people — including many college students and some still in high school — will get their first chance to vote in a general election in November. What is on the minds of these youths, who have come of age in the time of President Trump and when the school shootings in Parkland, Fla., have helped to catalyze a surge of student activism?