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How the Elections Could Affect Education Issues

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November 02, 2010 02:15 pm

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Looking for some good explanations and analysis? Check out these stories that we found helpful:

From Education Week, Alyson Klein and Sean Cavanagh cover how the results of today’s midterm elections could have major implications for the direction of federal education policy, the implementation of key state K-12 initiatives, and education spending at all levels. They write:

At the congressional level, most analysts expect that Republicans will win enough seats to gain a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, where all members are up for re-election, and significantly bolster their margins in the Senate, where 37 seats are up for grabs.

Thirty-seven governors’ races will also be decided on election day, as will seven state schools superintendents’ contests. Eleven states, plus the District of Columbia, are also hosting board of education races.

The winners of those contests will also be working with state legislative chambers that have gone through a significant churn: 6,115 legislative seats are on the ballot in regular elections in 46 states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a nonpartisan research group in Denver. Sixty state legislative chambers are currently controlled by Democrats, 36 are held by Republicans, and two are evenly split.

As at the federal level, the GOP is widely expected to make gains in governors’ and state legislative races.

Also related, Klein writes about the  educational issues Congress will focus on during the lame-duck session:

Congress left town without finishing the U.S. Department of Education’s spending bill for fiscal 2011, which officially began Oct. 1. Right now, all programs in the department are being financed at fiscal 2010 levels through a stopgap measure that expires Dec. 3.

Then Catherine Gewertz, also from Education Week, answers the question how will elections shift the winds for common standards?, writing:

Even though 41 states have adopted the common standards, who knows what will happen to the commitment to put them into practice when new governors, state boards, state lawmakers, and state education chiefs arrive? The folks over at ASCD take a look at a few places where changes could affect the common standards. Our intrepid reporting staff will keep a watch on the issue as well.

Wondering how today’s outcomes will shape the debates on higher education for the next few years? Check out this story from Inside Higher Ed:

Pell Grants, tougher oversight of for-profit colleges and better accountability for research funding may not on their own be top priorities for the 112th Congress, but they are likely to creep into some of the broader discussions of fiscal responsibility that will inevitably dominate discussion. They’re already surrounded by debates symptomatic of the scarcity of federal funds and will continue to be examined with microscopic precision, especially with a Republican majority in one or both chambers

In September, a group of House Republican leaders including Representative John Boehner (Ohio), the party’s apparent choice for Speaker of the House, issued “A Pledge to America,” a document that offered broad strokes of what Republicans would do with a majority. Most important for higher education is the group’s vow to cut non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels and to impose tougher oversight of programs already in place. If they keep that promise, many of the education and research programs that offer funding to students and colleges could face cuts.

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