One of the least discussed issues in this presidential campaign was education.
Beyond sharing their respect for teachers, the two candidates gave few details about their education vision or plans. Education was never discussed with much depth at any of the debates.
With the re-election of President Obama, we can presume a continuation of Race to the Top type strategies where reform is incentivized.
Not all educators are happy with that model, as reflected in the anxiety over the direction that Race to the Top is taking states, including Georgia. Race to the Top requires extensive testing and ties teacher evaluations to test results.
But the re-election of President Obama is prompting positive statements from education organizations, including the National Education Association.
Here is a press statement from the NEA:
Students and children scored major victories throughout the United States today, as voters took to the polls and made their point: it’s time to focus on what’s important here at home. In addition to reelecting President Obama, voters elected friends of education to every level of government and rejected ballot measures that attacked educators and public education.
"President Obama’s re-election is a victory for students and their educators," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "Americans have spoken and they’ve chosen to continue moving forward. Voters made clear that they value public education, workers’ rights, health care, women’s rights and a strong middle class."
Over the past four years, the Obama Administration fought to keep class sizes small, and protected more than 400,000 educator jobs. He also doubled investment in scholarships and financial aid so more middle and working-class families can realize the dream of a college education.
"Throughout the campaign, the President pledged to invest in education—especially in early childhood education—and to make higher education more affordable," said Van Roekel. "He and his congressional and gubernatorial colleagues also promised to protect women’s rights and rebuild the middle class from the inside out—and that obviously resonated with voters, especially educators."
And here is the statement from the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten:
"The importance of this election was far greater than casting a ballot for one candidate over another—as important as that exercise in democracy is. The American people voted today to create opportunity and shared prosperity by sharing responsibility, and to reject the cynical ‘you’re on your own’ philosophy. The results of this election are a declaration by the American people that to rebuild a strong and vibrant middle class and ensure a voice for all, we all have to be in this together.
Americans voted for a vision for our nation that says government has an essential role that includes protecting our families in times of crisis, investing in public schools as a foundation of our democracy, guaranteeing access to affordable healthcare, and ensuring retirement with dignity after a lifetime of hard work.
Election night also was a victory for people power over money power. I witnessed the hard work of our union’s volunteers firsthand as I moved through Ohio, Florida and other states on the AFT’s ‘Your Vote—Your Right—Their Futures’ bus tour. Thousands upon thousands of our members made phone calls, knocked on doors, and reached out in every way they could to get their families, friends and neighbors to the polls on Election Day—an effort that contributed not only to President Obama’s re-election, but also to victories in key Senate, House and gubernatorial races across the country."