Education lifts election doldrums

After the pomp, circumstance, and hope we can believe in of 2008, you may have an election hangover. And if you don’t live in Virginia, New Jersey, New York City, or Boston, you may not have even realized that next Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day. But of four big races (and a few ballot initiatives) due next week, education is a common theme in all of them. New York City’s mayoral election is perhaps the most contentious, with incumbent Michael Bloomberg’s mayoral control of city schools dominating the conversation; his opponent, city comptroller William Thompson, sat on the school board from 1996-2001, the period immediately preceding Bloomberg’s control of schools. The election has been plainly deemed a referendum on Bloomberg’s work in education. In Boston’s mayoral election, meanwhile, charter schools have become the topic du jour. Then over in New Jersey, incumbent governor Democrat Jon Corzine has portrayed education as an area of particular achievement for his administration, including the retooling of state education funding formulae. Down in Virginia where another gubernatorial race rages, education has crossed party lines: Republican contender and current favorite in the polls Bob McDonnell’s education platform looks a lot like President Obama’s Race to the Top criteria, while Democrat Creigh Deeds has picked up on fewer of RTT’s stipulations. We may not be back down on earth from last year’s sojourn in the hope and dream clouds, but education hasn’t strayed too far from voters’ minds.

Education Issues Bidding for Voters’ Attention,” by Erik W. Robelen, Education Week, October 26, 2009 (subscription required)

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