Results in some key ballot issues that affect public schools
Written by Jan Resseger
November 7, 2012
Here is an update on the election results for some of the key statewide ballot issues related to public education.
Voters defeated Michigan’s 2011 emergency manager law that allowed the state to appoint managers for municipalities and school districts deemed to be in fiscal emergencies and then allowed those emergency managers summarily to throw out previously agreed-upon collective bargaining agreements and unilaterally impose policy. There is some disagreement about whether a previous 1990 statute which established emergency managers will now be in effect. This earlier law did not permit the nullification of collective bargaining.
California’s voters passed Proposition 30, an initiative backed by Governor Jerry Brown to increase personal income taxes for seven years on those earning over $250,000. The tax issue, that will raise $6 billion annually, passed by a large margin—54 percent to 46 percent. The new revenues will prevent massive additional cuts to the state’s public schools and universities and will help balance the budget.
Voters in Maryland passed a version of the DREAM Act to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at Maryland’s public colleges.
Voters in Indiana defeated state school superintendent Tony Bennett, who—along with Governor Mitch Daniels—has been a darling of the American Legislative Exchange Council because he has worked to increase emphasis on student test scores, blame teachers, implement state takeovers of struggling schools, and rapidly expand charterization.
Voters in Idaho overturned three ballot issues known as the Luna Laws, named for state school superintendent Tom Luna. According to education historian, Diane Ravitch, “The Luna Laws imposed a mandate for online courses for high school graduates..., made test scores the measure of teacher quality, provided bonuses for teachers whose students got higher scores, removed all teacher rights, eliminated anything resembling tenure or seniority, turned teachers into at-will employees, and squashed the teachers’ unions.” Fully 67 percent of voters rejected the mandate that every high school student have a laptop and earn online credits.
In Florida, citizens voted to protect religious liberty by rejecting Amendment 8 to Florida’s constitution. Amendment 8 would have removed the Florida constitutional provision that prohibits the use of vouchers at religious schools.
In two states, voters approved measures that will rapidly expand charters and undermine funding for public education. Georgia voters voted to establish a state commission to authorize charter schools, and even to override the will of the local school board in cases where the local school board does not concur. In the state of Washington which has till now not permitted charter schools, citizens voted to permit the authorization of charter schools either by the local school board or a state commission to authorize charter schools.
Ms. Jan Resseger
Minister for Public Education and Witness
Program Team Based in Cleveland, Ohio
Justice And Witness Ministries
700 Prospect Ave.