Nine things you need to know about education and today’s election
With the midterms on Tuesday, we’ve devoted our weekly roundup to focus on education’s role in the election. Here are our nine takeaways of key issues and trends to watch:
1. Teachers are flexing their (political) muscles.
With just days to go, both of the major teachers’ unions devoted their considerable resources to the election.
The American Federation of Teachers has its members on the ground, making calls and knocking on doors, for more than 100 key Senate, House and gubernatorial races.
Although the AFT is focused more on national races, the National Education Association (the largest U.S. teachers’ union, with nearly three million members) is primarily targeting state and local races.
This shouldn’t be a surprise. This has been a year packed with teacher activism. Five states – Arizona, West Virginia, Colorado, Kentucky, and Oklahoma – saw walkouts and demonstrations. Teachers’ main concerns were better pay and working conditions. These five states also have some of the lowest education funding rates in the nation, as well as very low rates of teacher pay.
For education advocates, conversations about funding education are long overdue.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities titled its 2017 report about the preceding 10 years: “A Punishing Decade for School Funding.” Twenty-five states are still providing less total school funding per student than they were in 2008, according to this report by the AFT.