Education Reform Issues Across the Nation I'm Watching This Election Day

Apparently, today is some kind of big day, with a lot of big people here in Colorado and in other states making some important decision about the future of the country or something. It sounds like some sort of big deal. But as elections go, I’m more tuned in to some key education reform races around the country — compliments of Mike Petrilli at Education Next. (In addition to the local education tax issues on the ballot in many Colorado school districts.)

I’m watching a few of them, too. Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has been one of the nation’s boldest education reform leaders. Choice? Accountability? Labor reforms? Check marks on all three. How will he fare seeking re-election? That’s for Hoosiers to decide.

Even more interesting to me is a trio of Idaho ballot initiatives the teachers union is backing in an attempt to toss out some yummy tater tot reforms. Petrilli points out that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg of all people has thrown some tangible support behind the reforms and against the union. Why can I almost imagine some bemused Pocatello denizen proclaiming: “New York City?”

Speaking of unions and ballot initiatives, Michigan labor groups have put forth Proposition 2, what the Mackinac Center’s Vince Vernuccio correctly calls “an attempt by government unions to write themselves special privileges into the Michigan Constitution.” Petrilli notes that — more tellingly than Mackinac’s opposition — Michelle Rhee’s Students First also is working to defeat the measure.

Next, all eyes are on the state of Georgia, where the New York Times highlights a statewide initiative that will promote parental choice by allowing an independent charter school authorizer to bypass resistant local school boards. Atlanta newspapers also report that, depending on the outcome of a few key state legislative races, even bolder choice measures may be introduced in the near future.

Finally, the Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke features a couple other ballot initiatives worth watching: California’s Proposition 32, which would end the automatic dues collection that props up forced teacher unionism; and Washington State’s umpteenth [?] attempt to legalize charter schools. Come on, get with it already!!

All right, back to watching the big people nervously pacing to and fro, addicted to their Twitter feeds. Guess it’s time for some popcorn….