I am very glad that the election and the negative campaigning we experienced is behind us. I can't say that there were any surprises for me on the education related items, but the results thus far are raising some interesting questions for me, especially after posting about the power of teacher unions and WEA being in the top 10. As expected, the race for governor is very close with the latest results (6:45 pm) on the Secretary of State site showing Mckenna at 49% and Inslee at 51%. I'm also not surprised that I-1240 is passing with a 51% yes vote.
Looking at these results makes me wonder if Inslee would be in this position without the the support of WEA. My sense is that he would not have been successful without it. On the other hand, I wonder what the outcome would have been on the charter initiative if WEA had mustered the same level of opposition this time as they had on the three previous attempts. Remember from a previous post, they decided to prioritize the governor race this time. Given the current ballot counts, my sense is that it would have failed or been even closer. Considering the large difference in campaign contributions with the for group raising in excess of $8 million and the against group less than $300,000, I am surprised by how close it is.
Looking at a key state senate race in District 1 between Rosemary McAuliffe and Dawn McRavey that was won by the democratic incumbent McAuliffe also shows the influence that WEA can have. McAuliffe faced a stiff challenge because as Chair of the Senate Education Committee she blocked reform legislation from reaching the senate floor last year. This angered many and led to Stand for Children donating $256,000 to McRavey's campaign. WEA countered this with a $187,000 donation and I would assume they were also able to provide her campaign with workers. I doubt that McAuliffe would have won without this level of support.
What all this means for public education will play out over time as the new governor and legislators come together in January. At the federal level, with the reelection of President Obama, we will see business as usual. It will be more competition for federal dollars by states and districts that will drive additional legislation that aligns with the administration's reform agenda and one size fits all mentality. Yes, there are many components to their agenda, but they still drive one size fits all. States must conform to the reform parameters to compete for the big dollars that come from the various federal initiatives. Once you align with the parameters, you can then compete for the dollars and be given permission to move beyond the one size fits all. One need only to look at what needed to change at the state level to qualify for the NCLB waiver to see how this process plays out.