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 ...


The National Education Association isn't just spending its 2007 election dollars in Utah, trying to defeat vouchers. The 3.2 million-member NEA is also at work in the state of Washington, where the country's largest teachers' union has spent at least $450,000 to support a state referedum that would make it easier for school districts to pass levies to raise additional property tax revenue for district coffers. You can read more about their support in today's Seattle Times story. The state ballot resolution would change the vote margin needed to approve a levy—from the "super-majority" of 60 percent ...


If you listened to or watched Sunday's Republican presidential debate on Fox News, held in Orlando, Fla, you would have thought that vouchers and school choice will solve all of our education ills. How do we fix the No Child Left Behind Act? With free markets, vouchers, and school competition, according to former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson. What about re-engaging teachers, many of whom have been disenfranchised as part of NCLB? Again, vouchers are the answer, according to Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor. He and Thompson were the only candidates who got a chance to answer ...


Here's a follow-up on a recent post about the Louisiana governor's race: Republican U.S. Rep. Bobby Jindal did, indeed, capture a majority of votes during Saturday's primary, catapulting him to the governor's office in January without having to go through a run-off in November. Read the New York Times story here. He becomes the first Indian-American to become the state's CEO, and will be the nation's youngest governor, at age 36. He will replace Democrat Kathleen Blanco, who decided not to seek re-election. While I pointed you to Jindal's education proposals in an earlier post, it's also worth noting ...


The referendum on private school vouchers in Utah, which is the most heated education battle in an otherwise quiet off-election year, could provide an endless supply of fodder for this blog. But Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr.'s entry into this debate merits special attention. Gov. Huntsman, a Republican, is extremely popular in Utah and also a supporter of vouchers. He signed the bill into law, which would give every public school student a voucher, worth up to $3,000, for private school tuition. Proponents of the universal voucher program--the first in the country--have been quietly grousing about Huntsman's lack ...


Republican Mitt Romney, at a campaign stop Wednesday in Iowa, proposed linking the amount of federal college aid for students to the careers they're seeking. You can read the Associated Press story here. According to the AP account, Romney said he liked the idea of linking the amount of financial aid with the "contributions" students will make to society. However, he provided no details on which career paths would be linked to greater financial aid and whose contributions would count more than others. How much financial aid would a teacher's contribution be worth? Or a scientist's? Or an art historian's? ...


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