Key Education Measures on State Ballots
The big questions for election night were control of the U.S. Senate, and just how many governorships, state education agencies, and state legislatures would end up in GOP hands.
But voters in at least eleven states also got to decide on ballot measures with major implications for education funding and policy.
The most important measure, policywise, was in Missouri. Amendment 3 would create a standards-based teacher-evaluation system for teachers, who could be hired, fired, promoted, and paid based on student test score data. It would also limit teacher contracts to three years, and bar teachers from using the collective bargaining process to make changes to the design and implementation of the evaluation system. The Missouri Education Association was not a fan of the initiative, and it was not expected to pass. (UPDATE: It failed.)
There were also several money-themed measures, including;
• Colorado's Amendment 68, which would seek to make up for a $1 billion shortfall in education funding by allowing horse racetracks in the state to set up casinos. Taxes collected from the new casinos would be funneled into an education fund and used to shrink class sizes, boost technology in schools, improve school safety, and fix-up school facilities. FAILED.
• Hawaii's Amendment 4, which would permit the state to use public dollars to support private early-childhood education programs. FAILED.
• llinois' Question 3, which would increase taxes by 3 percent on incomes greater than $1 million, helping to pay for education. PASSED.
• Nevada's Question 3, which would increase taxes by 2 percent on businesses whose total revenue exceeds $1 million, and schools would benefit. FAILED.
• New York's Proposal 3, which would authorize up to $2 billion in state bonds to boost classroom funding. The money generated could then be used to improve access to classroom technology and high-speed Internet, increase classroom space for prekindergarten children, replace classroom trailers with more permanent spaces, and purchase school security technology. PASSED.
• Washington states's Initiative 1351, which would direct state lawmakers to hike education spending to help schools cut down on class size and hire support staff, like librarians and counselors. Importantly, it doesn't specify where the money would come from. There has been a big legal battle in the Evergreen State over school funding recently. PASSED.
And on the local front was Seattle's Proposition 1B, which would institute a $58 million tax increase in the city to create a preschool program for 3- and 4- year-olds. PASSED.