Corporate Ed Reform a big election loser

Corporate education reformers lost big on election night in a number of states with high profile issues and races affecting public education. In no particular order, here's what went down

Florida voters defeated a measure that would have allowed the use of public funds for religious school tuition, effectively turning back an effort that was expected to lead to a state-wide voucher program. It only garnered 44% of the vote.

In Indiana, The Washington Post reports

Indiana voters tossed out controversial state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett and elected veteran teacher Glenda Ritz in his place, the Indianapolis Star reported.

The vote has resonance beyond Indiana because Bennett was a leader of the national market-driven school reform movement who pushed through a statewide voucher program and took other steps that critics said amounted to the privatization of public education.

Idaho voters voters

  • Rejected plans to mandate students to take online courses and for the state to spend $180 million on laptops - a boon for the profiteers, an economic disaster for districts.
  • Rejected merit pay for teachers that is linked to student standardized test scores
  • Opposed limits on the collective bargaining rights for teachers.

In California, voters approved Prop 30, which calls for a $6-billion-a-year tax increase, in part to fund public education. They also rejected Prop 32, the third attempt in 14 years to prevent unions, which represent 2.5 million workers in California, from using annual dues payments to contribute to state and local candidates or campaigns for ballot measures.

The Washington Post Reports, In Bridgeport, Conn.

voters rejected an expensive effort by the mayor and his supporters in the corporate world to win mayoral control over the Board of Education. Voters retained the right to elect their own school board representatives.

Corporate education reformers and union busters spent a lot of money on issues and candidates in election 2012 and left with a lot of heavy losses.

Final Campaign 2012 recap

We've covered a lot of ground during campaign 2012, and wanted to recap some of the important pieces you will want to keep in mind.

School Levies
There are a lot of levies on the ballot, as a result of the Kasich budget cuts. You can see a list of them here , organizned by county, type and whether they are requests for new money or continuations.

State Board of Education
There are 7 state board of election seats up for grab, here's our primer on those, including some bios of pro public education candidates.

Voting Checklist
Confused by the shifting voting requirements caused by politicians seeking their own advantage? Here's a handy checklist of what you need to vote, and what your rights are.

Union Candidates
Remember SB5? So do these union members who decided to run for office. If you're lucky, one of them will be on your ballot. One such member is Donna O'Connor, who has inspired so many people with her positive vision and strong leadership. Check the link to see all the union members running on pro-worker platforms.

The Big One - President
We've written a lot about the race for the Presidency, but we'll leave it in the hands of the candidates own visions to make closing arguments

President Obama's 2nd term plan for education.
Mitt Romney: Mr. Corporate Ed.

Issue 2: Voters First, Not Politicians
A YES on Issue 2 puts voters first.

Your vote today

Voting is a very personal thing. It reflects values held dear. Some people vote "their" party, some their "conscience", others their profession. Often times these things reflect parts of the same.

Today, is primary day in Ohio. We've covered a lot of the issues and candidates who will be vying for your vote.

Here at Join the Future we'd like you to consider supporting your local schools, their students and education staff. We have published a list of school levies and issues here. School's are facing a budget crisis caused not of their own largesse, but of draconian cuts made by politicians in Columbus who took a pass on making their own tough decisions, and instead passed the buck, to the tune of almost $3 billion over the next 2 years.

While many might look to the general election in November, there are also opportunities today to make a big difference in who those Columbus politicians will be next year.

We're experiencing the effects of bad budgeting and bad policy made in Columbus by out of touch, extreme politicians every day now. We can only change those policies by changing the people who represent us.

We can support candidates who chose to stand with the middle class, not against them. Who understand the importance of public education, not it's privatization.

We spent last week providing some details of candidates who have strong middle class values, who respect working people and who can replace office holders who voted for extreme legislation like SB5 and the budget.

Day 1: Union members running for the Ohio House
Day 2: Union members running for the Ohio House
Day 3: Union members running for the Ohio House
Day 4: Union members running for the Ohio House
Day 5: Union members running for the Ohio House
Union members spotlight - State Senate

So whether you live in HD21 where special education teacher Donna O'Connor is running, or HD70 where Republican cop Eric Spicer is running, understanding that the way to prevent legislation like SB5, or budgets like HB153 from happening again, is to support candidates who share our mainstream values, candidates who won't support legislation that is unfair, unsafe and hurts us all.

HD 7 Matt Patten LABORERS N D
HD 16 Todd Laveck OFT Y D
HD 20 Marco Miller IAFF (Ret.) Y D
HD 21 Donna O’Connor OEA Y D
HD 24 Maureen Reedy OEA N D
HD 37 Tom Schmida OFT N D
HD 45 Teresa Fedor OFT N D
HD 47 Jeff Bunck OEA N D
HD 57 Matt Lark OEA Y D
HD 58 Bobby Hagan BLET N D
HD 61 Susan McGuinness ONA N D
HD 68 Brad Schaff USW Y D
HD 69 Judith Cross OEA (Ret.) Y D
HD 70 Eric Spicer FOP N R
HD 71 Brady Jones UAW N D
HD 72 David Dilly UMWA N D
HD 76 Mary O’Toole OEA Y R
HD 81 John Vanover USW N D
HD 87 Dennis Sterling FOP Y R
HD 88 Bill Young OEA N D
HD 95 Charles Daniels OCSEA Y D
HD 95 Jim Drake OEA Y D
HD 99 John Patterson OEA N D
SD 6 Rick McKitty UAW (Ret.) N D
SD 20 Teresa Scarmack OEA N D
SD 24 Tom Patton IATSE Y R
SD 26 Tanyce Addison OEA N D

Union members spotlight - day 3

This is day three of our spotlight on union members who have decided to run for the Ohio general assembly. Candidates spotlighted on day one, can be found here, and day 2, here.

It should be noted that the districts listed below are new as a consequence of the legislative redistricting process that happened last year.

House district 61 - Susan McGuinness (D)
House district 61 - Susan McGuinness
Susan McGuinness is a member of the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA). A Registered Nurse and Chair of the Lake Health Board of Directors, she has said, “Lake County deserves a vigorous voice in Columbus. A voice that, like the people of the county itself, doesn’t address issues from only a political perspective. We need a voice that speaks for the people, not just the party in power. I will be that voice.”

McGuinness added, “We have had our fill of out of touch career politicians who don’t answer to their constituents. I will build on our great assets and work to improve economic, educational, and health opportunities for every citizen of Lake County. I will make sure our government works for us, not against us.”

She is unopposed in the primary and will face Rep. Ron Young who was one of those voices against middle class people when he cast his vote for SB5 and HB153.

House district 68 - Brad Schaff (D)
House district 68 - Brad Schaff
Brad is a member of the United Steel Workers (USW). If he is successful in the primary he is likely to face Rep. Margaret Ruhl who herself is facing a primary contest. Rep Ruhl voted for SB5 and the budget bill (HB153). You can learn more about Brad Schaff, here.

House district 69 - Judith Cross (D)
House district 69 - Judith Cross
Judith Cross is a member of OEA (Ret.) and former Common Pleas Judge. Judy taught elementary school in Brunswick for 12 years. During that 12 year period Judy became involved in the Brunswick Education Association and helped to secure collective bargaining rights for public employees.She will challenge Republican Batchelder, who is speaker of the House. Both are running unopposed in the March 6 primary.
Learn more about Judith Cross, here.

House district 71 - Brady Jones (D)
House district 71 - Brady Jones
Jones has been a pipefitter for 17 years and a member of the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 189. “I’m tired of seeing the middle class get beat up,” he has said, "someone needs to be in office who will represent the core values of the people who elected them."

He is unopposed in the primary and will face incumbent Jay Hottinger, a career politician who supported SB5 and the budget bill that slashed school finances.

House district 73 - Eric Spicer (R)
House district 73 - Eric Spicer
Eric is a member of the FOP, and running in the Republican primary to replace disgraced Rep. Jarrod Martin. In addition to volunteering as a firefighter and medic, Eric Spicer has served as a police officer for over 21 years. He currently serves as Captain of the Greene County Sheriff’s Criminal Investigative Services Unit.
Eric is endorsed by Sheriff Gene Fischer and Treasurer Dick Gould, Sheriff Richard K. Jones – Butler County, Sheriff Brent Emmons – Champaign County, Melissa Litteral – Beavercreek City Councilwoman, Dona Seger-Lawson – Bellbrook City Councilwoman, James Hapner – Fairborn City Councilman, Robert Wood – Fairborn City Councilman, Ralph Fussner – Retired Bellbrook City Council, Phil Oakley – Fairborn Ambassador, Jay McDonald – State FOP President, Chuck Canterbury – National FOP President, Mark Sanders – Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters.

His opponent, Rep.Martin, along with his voting for SB5 and HB153 has been dubbed "America's drunkest legislator".

You can learn more about Eric Spicer, here.

Tomorrow we will spotlight 4 more union members who are running for the Ohio general assembly.

Where the GOP Presidential candidates stand on education

With congress unable to pass any meaningful legislation, the executive branch has wielded ever greater power in the education policy setting realm, most notably using Race to the Top to bribe cash strapped states to compete with each other in a race to implement all manner of unproven education reforms.

No doubt then, whomever wins the voters approval this coming November to become President, will have a large impact on public education and education policy for at least the next 4 years.

So it is, that tonight is the first step in selecting the next President, the Iowa caucuses. Where members of the Iowa Republican party will select their preferred candidate to face President Obama in November. (the Democrats will select a candidate too, but President Obama is unchallenged). For how this caucus works, the Desmoines Register has a handy guide.

We thought it would be useful to provide a guide on what each of the main GOP Presidential candidates have put forth as their education agenda.

Mitt Romney

A quick look at Mitt Romney's campaign website reveals that education isn't a priority. Under his issues tab he lists only jobs, healthcare and foreign policy. We have to turn to third party reporting then to discern his intentions. A reading of various articles reveals a candidate who falls in the corporate education reform camp. More testing, teachers with less influence, pay for test results. While he once supported the abolition of the Department of Education, he has since changed that stance.

Ron Paul

Ron Paul does feature education on his campaign website.

Ron Paul works towards the elimination of the inefficient Department of Education, leaving education decisions to be made at the state, local or personal level. Parents should have the right to spend their money on the school or method of schooling they deem appropriate for their children.

It was arduous researching into Ron Paul's political positions as one quickly descends in to a carnival of the bizarre. This post sums up the problem quite well.

Rick Perry

Like Mitt Romney, Rick Perry doesn't feature education among his list of issues on his website, but he does feature some education policy on his Gubernatorial website

Education reform has been a top priority for Governor Perry during his 20 years of public service. He has worked to raise the overall quality of education in Texas by aligning the higher education standards more closely with the needs of business, balancing accountability with incentives for teacher and school performance and increasing the emphasis on core subject areas like math, reading and science.

One of the most memorable policy positions Rick Perry has put forth has been his desire to abolish the Department of Education

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum doesn't have any education policy listed on his campaign website. This seems to be an evolving theme of the Republican candidates, and one we find troubling.

Perhaps his largest contribution to education policy was the "Santorum Amendment", which Wikipedia describes as follows

The Santorum Amendment was an amendment to the 2001 education funding bill which became known as the No Child Left Behind Act, proposed by then-Republican United States Senator Rick Santorum from Pennsylvania, which promotes the teaching of intelligent design while questioning the academic standing of evolution in U.S. public schools. Though the amendment only survives in modified form in the Bill's Conference Report and does not carry the weight of law, as one of the Discovery Institute intelligent design campaigns it became a cornerstone in the intelligent design movement's "Teach the Controversy" campaign.

Santorum is another Republican who believes in a limited role in education for the Federal government.

On Friday, he said people often ask what he would do at a federal level to promote his education ideas.

"I say darn little, other than talking about it. One of the things a president can do and it's important for a president to do is lead a discussion about important things in America," Santorum said.

Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich features a very lengthy policy list related to education on his campaign website. The bullet points include

  • Empower parents to pick the right school for their child.
  • Institute a Pell Grant-style system for Kindergarten through 12th Grade.

  • Require transparency and accountability about achievement.
  • Implement a “no limits” charter system.

  • Establish a pay for performance system.
  • Welcome business talent in our communities into the classroom. 
Restore American history and values into the classroom.
  • Protect the rights of home-schooled children 
Encourage states to think outside outdated boundaries of education.
  • Shrink the federal Department of Education

Those are the positions, as best as we could discern, of each of the current top tier candidates in the GOP primary as they head in to tonight's Iowa caucus. According to the reputable polling prognosticator, 538, here's the current polling state of play

The real fight over SB5 is still ahead

Yesterday was the filing deadline for candidates wishing to run for the Ohio General Assembly. We had looked earlier at the impact of incumbents of the Ohio House of Representatives voting for SB5 would have on their reelection chances.

14 SB5 supporters could not survive a 5% swing from their margin of victory in 2010 (2 didn’t even reach the 50% threshold due to a third party taking significant support). With only a 10-seat margin to maintain control, it is quite possible that control of the Ohio House will swing away from the Republicans and back to the Democrats.

Such a swing, could put a halt to the Governors radical agenda and turn the remaining 2 years of his first term into a lame duck effort.

Now some of this calculation is complicated by the recent redistricting, but as Gongwer notes, the 2012 elections are shaping up to be a continuation of the fight over SB5

SB5 Redux?: In some ways, the contest for control of the House next session is shaping up as a proxy battle between the two sides in the fight over the collective bargaining law changes (SB 5) that voters rejected last month in a referendum vote.

House Democrats, for example, noted that a number of educators have filed to run and Speaker Batchelder said the GOP newcomers include an ample amount of businesspeople.
Rep. Debbie Phillips (D-Athens), the House Democratic Caucus Campaign co-chair, said 2002 Teacher of the Year Maureen Reedy, who is seeking the open 24th House District seat in Franklin County, is among at least 10 teachers running for the House as Democrats.

"State budget cuts and the unfair attacks in SB5 have put educators and our children's education directly in the crosshairs of the Republican's anti-middle class agenda and teachers are standing up, fighting back and getting involved," Rep. Phillips said in a release. "We are very excited to have so many great teachers running for office. They are trusted and well known in their communities, which are two key components of electoral success."

While some candidates might have a difficult task ahead of them due to the gerrymandering of districts, the overwhelming rejection of SB5 is likely to create some very sharp contrasts for voters to decide upon.