One topic of interest to post-election pundits has been how key education issues will fare after last week’s state and congressional elections. Several news organizations suggest that the Republican sweep may give school choice new prominence in both Congress and state legislatures.
The Washington Post writes that education reform provides a rare area for possible common ground between the Obama Administration and the new Republican Congress in part because both support charter schools. The Post discusses odds of whether the new Congress will have much appetite for reauthorizing – or revising – No Child Left Behind, with its provisions for charter school options.The newspaper also notes that Race to the Top, the administration’s school reform grant competition that favors charter school expansion, awarded an early, large grant to Tennessee, home state of Lamar Alexander, a leading Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Fox News lists school choice as one of several issues the new Congress might be eager to embrace, building on buzz from the film “Waiting for Superman.” Charter schools are already well established and expanding in many states, but Fox predicts that vouchers will enjoy a resurgence of support among congressional Republicans.
The Dallas Morning News speculates that the new, more-Republican-than-ever Texas House and Senate may be emboldened to push for issues that have failed in recent years such as allowing school vouchers and lifting the state’s cap on the number of charter schools. Whichever programs gain traction will have to be inexpensive or financed through fees because the state faces a shortfall for the next biennium that could exceed $24 billion.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Check out these publications from the NCSC archives for more information on the politics of charter school laws, No Child Left Behind, and public opinion on school reform.
The Persuadable Public: The 2009 Education Next-PEPG Survey asks if information changes minds
School choice agenda setting: A national analysis of individual state legislators
Responses to No Child Left Behind among Traditional Public Schools and Public Charter Schools
Editors’ Preface, Special Issue on Policy, Politics, and Organization of School Choice