Election Fallout for Education Reform in Colorado & Nationally: Overall Positive

It’s the day after a late night election. There are some yawns and droopy eyes around here. But I did want to share you with some initial reactions. Let’s start in Colorado.

First, we learned that Republicans won the state house and closed the gap on the Democrats’ state senate majority. Democrats hold on to the governor’s office, with John Hickenlooper taking the place of Bill Ritter. Alan Gottlieb opines in this morning’s Ed News Colorado commentary that a Hickenlooper administration will be “more in tune with the Obama administration and Democrats for Education Reform than with traditional Democract [sic] influencers, including teachers’ unions.” I sure hope he’s right.

Second, the State Board of Education remained 4-3 in the hands of a Republican majority. Even as the Board meets today, a big decision looms right around the corner of the new year: whom to place in the position of Commissioner of Education. All in all, it looks like a positive step forward for education reform here in Colorado.

Nationally, though, it may be even brighter. Writing on Jay Greene’s blog, Matt Ladner rejoices in changes in some key state legislatures, which means school choice and other important reform legislation might be forthcoming soon. On the other hand, what it means for education reform that Republicans took control of one house of Congress isn’t entirely clear. Though Mike Antonucci observes correctly that election night could have been worse for the NEA, but not much worse:

Not to belabor the obvious, but a bad day for the Democrats is a bad day for the National Education Association’s political operations. NEA spent money on safe incumbents, so its overall record for 2010 won’t seem so bad, but in the candidate races all across the country where the union was heavily involved, particularly in the U.S. House of Representatives, it got shellacked.

Elsewhere inside the Beltway, Education Week blogger Alyson Klein notes that Rep. John Kline of Minnesota is set to be the new Education Committee chair. The debate to reauthorize No Child Left Behind may well come back to the frontburner in 2011. It could be a very interesting debate.