On the side of restoring union rights, Idaho teachers put three measures on the fall ballot: one to repeal a law limiting previously negotiated union contracts; another to repeal a new law tying teacher pay to student test scores; and a third that would repeal a law changing school funding formulas and requiring schools to provide computers and online courses. Based on incomplete returns, it appears that the trio was headed toward a big victory for teachers and public employee unions.
South Dakotans also repealed a new law that rates teachers and removed tenure, another anti-education bill passed by a GOP-majority legislatures after 2010 that punishes teachers while doing little to improve public schools. In Michigan, in contrast, voters dealt unions a major defeat by rejecting a measure to restore collective bargaining rights for all unionized employees, whether state or private sector employees.
The astroturf organization Stand for Children got clobbered in Colorado. And in Indiana, despite hedge fund managers pumping $1.5 million into the race, education ‘reformer’ Tony Bennett was beaten by schoolteacher Glenda Ritz (boldface mine):
Tony Bennett had become the face of rightwing reform in America.
His mission was to bring the ALEC agenda to life in the Hoosier State.
He was head of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change, the group of state superintendents that were most eager to privatize public education, expand charters and vouchers, turn children over to for-profit corporations, and reduce the status of teachers.
He was honored by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute as the “reformiest” state superintendent in the nation.
The Wall Street hedge fund managers and assorted billionaires pumped $1.5 million into his campaign for re-election.
He was soundly defeated by veteran teacher Glenda Ritz.
…She got 1.3 million votes, almost 100,000 more votes than Mike Pence, the Republican running for governor, who barely eked out a victory.
Make no mistake: The people of Indiana said “no” to Tony Bennett’s radical plans to turn public education into a free-market of choice and competition, based on high-stakes testing.
The people of Indiana elected Glenda Ritz to rebuild their public school system and to wipe away the misguided, mean-spirited “reforms” imposed by Bennett.
This is a victory for the parents, citizens and educators of Indiana.
Most important, it is a victory for the children of the state of Indiana.
Now, they will have a chance to have a good education, not to be consumers in a vast shopping mall of test-based choices, not to be data points for corporations bent on turning a profit.
Overall, a good week.