Reading through election results today, a few caught our eye. We put together a short summary, but if there are others that we missed, please fill us in!
New York City -- Council member Bill de Blasio wins the Mayoral race in a predictable landslide. He was supported by the UFT and promises a more collaborative approach to education. He had two major education campaign promises: universal PreK and charging rent to charter schools housed in NYC DOE buildings. He plans to fund the PreK expansion with a tax on high earners but that will require approval from Albany. The biggest unknown: who's the next chancellor? Rumors have begun swirling that Randi Weingarten is in the running but both camps are denying that it's been discussed. Other names in the mix -- Andres Alonso and Joshua Starr.
Virginia -- Terry McAuliffe wins a tight gubernatorial race in Virginia. What does this mean for education? Who knows? Education wasn't a major issue in the campaign, which was filled with mudslinging accusations, other than to discuss the dangers lurking if the other was elected. On his website McAuliffe says, "As Governor, I will support our kids and our schools. We're going to take the best ideas from around the country and give teachers and administrators the resources and freedom they need to make Virginia a global leader in education." Does that mean he'd be open to the Common Core?
New Jersey -- He's baaack! Chris Christie was re-elected governor. Probably not a lot of surprises here; we know where he stands. He yelled at a teacher last week in the final days of his campaign, so it's clear he hasn't warmed to "[those] people." Both Newark and Camden are now under state control, so he's likely to continue to have a heavy hand in education in the state.
Minneapolis -- Minneapolis had a whopping 35 candidates running for mayor and it looks like Councilwoman Betsy Hodges is coming out on top. The city employed rank choice voting so, it will take a few days to confirm the outcome, but Hodges has established a hefty lead that will be hard to overcome. According to our friends on the ground in Minneapolis, she is "tight-lipped" about education. Her campaign website says she would, of course, keep collective bargaining in place, going on to say, "The negotiation must be about how we recruit and keep the best teachers, increase teacher diversity, and get kids in front of teachers they need." We like the sound of that. Hodges will have the outgoing mayor, R.T. Rybak, at Generation Next pushing on education reforms.
Denver -- The school board race in Denver set up a slate of four candidates that support Superintendent Tom Boasberg's reforms against opponents more critical of the Superintendent. All four supporters of the Superintendent, including NCTQ board member Barbara O'Brien, came out on top. Onward and upward, Denver!
Douglas County, CO -- It was close, but the incumbents held on in Douglas County. You may remember that Douglas County has done away with collective bargaining and implemented a market-based teacher pay system in the past year in addition to supporting a voucher program. As you can imagine, the teachers' union supported other candidates. This gives the ed community an example of a high-performing suburban county trying out many of the reforms usually identified with urban school systems.
Colorado -- The voters in state of Colorado rejected state Senator Mike Johnston's effort to create a two-tiered income tax that would result in an additional $950 million annually for schools. The additional tax revenue would have funded preschool, all day kindergarten, support for English learner students, and other local priorities. While this attempt didn't pass muster with the voters, there was a consolation prize of sorts: voters passed a 15% excise tax and 10% sales tax on recreational marijuana. From those revenues, approximately $27.5 million is slated to go to school construction. That's roughly the cost of building one small state-of-the-art middle school. Don't spend it all in one place.
Boston -- Marty Walsh is the new Mayor elect in Boston, thanks at least in part to unprecedented support by organized labor. You may remember that John Connolly's early and generous support from Stand for Children resulted in some backlash. According to the Boston Globe, education groups like Stand and Democrats for Education Reform spent at least $1.3 million in support of Connolly. Walsh, has been described as "solidly pro-charter" and supports universal preK.