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Decision 2012: Big Win For Obama's Hybrid Agenda

Folks on both sides of the education divide are going to spend a lot of time today trying to make the case that last night's election was a decisive victory for or against school reform -- Mike Petrilli's A not-so-great night for education reform is an early example -- as is the Charter School Alliance email "Public Charter Schools Win Big in Election" -- but I think they're overstating the case.  

3cdbf838b33175fc4848d7456fcced7f036a81fb_mA few reform-oriented ballot initiatives and candidates, and a few lost.  A few education spending initiatives won and lost. But none of those was decisive or numerous enough in any given direction to constitute a clear win or less.

The big story from last night's election is support for the Obama administration's hybrid agenda of both funding education and reforming it at roughly the same time -- and that the divide between unions and Democrats is real but not so large, or widespread, or lacking in pragmatism that it prevents unions and Democrats from coming together when it comes election time.  

If the pushback against reform was as big and real as some have made it, then Obama wouldn't have won the way he did, and organized labor wouldn't have done all it did to ensure that the Democrats kept the Senate and didn't lose ground in the House, and the Latino community wouldn't have come out so strongly for Obama.

The takeaway for reform critics?  People may agree with some of the points you make but not enough or in large enough numbers to change their votes. The takeaway for reformers?  Support resources as well as reform if you want to broaden your appeal.

Here's a link to the DFER 2012 Wins-LossesBelow is the 50CAN Action Fund list.  Still waiting on the StudentsFirst and STAND brag sheets.

FROM 50CAN ACTION FUND:

In Rhode Island three of our 4 endorsed candidates won their races, with the fourth making a strong showing in a tough 4 way race. There is a list below with our supported candidates bolded. 

  WIN House 4Speaker Gordon Fox (57.1%) vs. Mark Binder (42.4%)

LOSS House 46: Rep. Jeremiah O’Grady (38.4%) vs. Matthew Guerra (32.5%) vs. Mary Ann Shallcross Smith (25.7%) vs. Paul J. DiDomenico (3.2%)

WIN Senate 15Senator Donna Nesselbush (77.4%) vs. Robert Venturini (22.3%)

WIN Senate 35: Senator Dawson Hodgson (58.2%) vs. Winters Hames III (41.5%)  

In Minnesota, we engaged in one school board race, District 4 in Minneapolis. As of now the candidate we supported Josh Reimnitz is ahead by 573 votes with 80% of precincts counted. However reported ballot scanning issues, combined with a high number of paper ballots mean that there is an ongoing hand count in 3 precincts, so no winner has been declared yet. I will let you know as soon as there is resolution on that one.

 

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in This Week In Education are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.