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How Do The Governors Stack Up?


“The role of the governors in fostering educational reform in the early 1980s
was crucial because they mobilized the public and legislators
in their states to support educational reforms.”

Source: The Road to Charlottesville: The 1989 Education Summit

Congrats to all our candidates & victors. A battle waged is noble in itself. Commentary & analysis available soon!

Too few of our modern-day state leaders appreciate the absolute role they must play in bringing about transformative change in America’s schools. As far back as 1989 when the above quote was made, democrats and republicans still knew it was imperative to cross the aisle for the sake of children, to ensure that educational opportunities were strong and that students and their families, not hide-bound approaches and 19th century models of education had everything this great nation could muster to help them advance and gain access to a better future.

Over the years, many governors knew it was their job to lead, to take controversial positions, to enable new programs, ideas to come to the fore, and to challenge the establishment. Some of the boldest reforms were born as a result — from state standards and educational choice in Wisconsin, to charters in Minnesota – to blended learning in Virginia.

In recent years, however, there has been a retreat from that kind of leadership when it comes to reforming education to allow for greater innovation and opportunity.

According to November 2018 election results, voters agreed. They voted in more Governors than in two decades that were strong on the issues that matter in education – advancing the rights of parents, the ability of schools to innovate, of teachers to dictate what happens for the students they serve. After the 2018 election, 37 of the nation’s governors — or 72% of all governors (including Washington D.C. mayor) — earned passing grades on education innovation and opportunity.

Election 2018 saw the election of leaders who have either proven themselves to be champions of reforms during their tenure as incumbent state executives or have run on platforms that do not shy away from being vocal about putting parents and students first.

And while some of that continues, two years of push back by the education establishment and the unions who are fighting hard to maintain their power, is resulting in too many candidates that seem to care more about offering pleasing slogans than acknowledging American education’s continued failure to serve all kids well, and the need for substantive, transformational change across all levels of education.

This year CER has ranked the gubernatorial candidates up for election this November 8, 2018, on their views that encompass our fundamental values – Opportunity & Innovation. As we argue in the New Opportunity Agenda – A Manifesto, “We cannot have innovation without the ability to try new models; We cannot involve teachers, parents and students without opportunities to make decisions about where and how they teach and learn, and we cannot have opportunity and choice without good information to make decisions.”

A comprehensive chart Ed50 2018, reveals where the candidates for Governor and State Superintendent stand based on the core tenets of education transformation that paves the way for a successful future for every student. Use this to guide your actions when you vote, and beyond.