Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher, whose campaign was mired in a hirings-and-firings ethics scandal from earlier in his administration, did not win re-election. With 90 percent of the votes counted, his opponent, former Attorney General Steve Beshear, unseated the incumbent and gave Democrats control of another governor's office. Beshear netted 59 percent of the vote to Fletcher's 41 percent. Beshear doesn't have anything earth-shattering on his education agenda—the ever-popular pre-kindergarten expansion, a pledge to raise teacher salaries, and a promise to provide more dual-enrollment opportunities so students can earn college credit while going to high school. This was a race ...


Voters in several states will make decisions today that will affect the quality of schools for years to come. The biggies: Vouchers—The polls don't look good for supporters of statewide, universal vouchers in Utah. Voters will consider whether or not to repeal a law approved earlier this year by the legislature that would give every student a voucher worth between $500 and $3,000, depending on income. Governors—Voters in Mississippi and Kentucky will elect their heads-of-state. Kentucky incumbent Gov. Ernie Fletcher, a Republican, is in danger of losing to Democrat Steve Beshear. In Mississippi, Republican Haley Barbour seems ...


Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson, who is big supporter of the National Rifle Association and an opponent of gun-control measures, came out on Sunday in favor of allowing law-abiding students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, so long as they comply with campus and state rules. The issue came up on Meet the Press, when journalist Tim Russert asked the former Tennessee senator about allowing students to carry weapons in light of the shootings in April at Virginia Tech. He first told Russert: "I don’t think that all students need to be carrying weapons on the school campus." ...


Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings might be done influencing national education policy and the No Child Left Behind Act come January 2009, when President Bush leaves office. But that doesn't mean she'll be necessarily stepping out of the limelight, or leaving politics behind. A run for governor, or even U.S. Senator, in her home state of Texas may be in her future. This rumor has been floating around blogs for several weeks now, as people speculate where Spellings, a member of Bush's inner circle, will land once she leaves the federal government. Read more about what she may -- ...


Explaining war and politics to young children is hard. But here's how presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden, a notoriously long-winded Democrat from Delaware, explained the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a group of 4th graders who asked him about the issue today in New Hampshire, according to an Associated Press story: "Osama bin Laden set up camps there [in Afghanistan], and he was getting a lot of help from folks running that country called Afghanistan. And that's where he planned an attack on America to bring the World Trade Towers down and kill all those innocent ...


Voters in three states will elect members of their Statehouses on Tuesday, and the ramifacations will be felt nationwide, as a story in USA Today explains. Certainly, voters in those three states—New Jersey, Virginia, and Mississippi —should care, since state legislatures set school spending and often shape educational priorities. (Louisiana's Statehouse elections are later in November.) Check out Education Week's Election 2007 coverage here. But these legislative elections also will determine who draws new Congressional boundaries in those states after the 2010 Census, which greatly influences whether Democrats or Republicans get elected to Congress. And, given the national interest ...


The latest campaign finance numbers are in for Utah's voucher referendum, which is on the ballot Tuesday, and both sides so far have spent a total of more than $7 million. That's more than what Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. spent in 2004 to win his last gubernatorial race, according to a story today in the Salt Lake Tribune. Not suprisingly, the National Education Association lived up to speculation that it would spend about $3 million on its campaign to defeat vouchers — making the NEA the biggest funding source for the anti-voucher movement. The referedum seeks to undo a law ...


Did you watch last night's Democratic debate from Philadelphia, broadcast on MSNBC? If you stayed tuned past 90 minutes of the debate, then you heard an interesting education question (and really the only one of the debate) posed to the seven candidates. If you didn't catch it, you can watch it here or read the transcript here. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams noted that students in other countries spend an average of 193 days a year in school, while American students spend about 180 days. The deficit, Williams noted, adds up to one year over a student's career. So ...


Democratic presidential candidate and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is touting his education plan again, this time, on a campaign stop in Florida. One of things he likes to highlight is his call to raise the national average for teacher starting salaries to $40,000 by providing money to states (though he's not calling for a full-fledged federal law requiring the raises.) According to his plan, the cost would be $2.1 billion a year (which, incidentally, he'll pay for through savings by withdrawing troops from Iraq and other defense-oriented savings.) According to the American Federation of Teachers latest salary ...


For better or for worse, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who's in the crowded field of GOP presidential contenders, has been getting a lot of attention lately in blogs and media columns. Read the National Review's "Dump the Huck" and a New York Times column, "Who Doesn’t Heart Huckabee?" Though his fundraising lags the front-runners, some are speculating Huckabee could be a vice presidential pick, especially because he's solidly pro-life, pro-gun, and pro-religion—which would be attractive to the Republican right. He had an unexpected 2nd place showing in an Iowa straw poll in August, and comes across as ...


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