Primary season is upon us, and with 26 states already in the books, it’s a good time to take a look at the top trends and takeaways for educators.
Teachers are running for office
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We’ve seen educators across the country walk out and speak up on behalf of their students and fellow educators this year. Now, many are going a step further and deciding to run for office themselves, as pointed out in a recent TIME magazine piece that features Carrie Pugh, political director for the National Education Association (NEA), which represents about 3 million educators nationwide.
In 2015, the NEA started building a campaign training program for educators, gearing it toward prospective candidates for school boards and city councils,” reads the article. “But they’re now adapting the curriculum because teachers have shown a much greater interest in state legislative seats. Pugh said she has received applications from about 150 teachers in nearly 30 states — mostly Democrats, but some Republicans, too — who want to attend the NEA’s first large candidate training this month.
Governor candidates are finally talking about tax fairness in the name of education funding
In order to provide appropriate funding for public education, states must have adequate and consistent sources of revenue and use them properly. Translation: States need to have a fair system of taxation, and invest taxpayer dollars in the public schools attended by 90 percent of students.
Unfortunately, for many years, floating the idea of increasing taxes on the top 1% of earners or on large corporations and specifically flagging that money for education, was seen as taboo. This year, however, we’ve seen a number of gubernatorial candidates standing up for education and the middle class by proposing tax reforms that would do just that. You can read more about some of those tax fairness champions here.
Education matters to voters
Education, especially K-12, has been an extremely important factor in the primary elections so far this year. A recent California poll has shown exactly that, with 90% of voters saying candidates’ positions on education are important to them.
Nearly two-thirds — 64 percent — of likely voters in a new survey called education “very important,” an increase from 58 percent four years ago when the same question was asked.
A full 90 percent said candidates’ positions on education are important to them.
We are likely to have many more female elected officials
Women are winning across the country, and not just in Democratic races. In the most recent round of primaries, Republican Katie Arrington beat incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford in South Carolina. In Virginia, six out of the seven U.S. House districts currently controlled by Republicans will face female challengers in the general election.
You can learn more about how female candidates are doing with Bloomberg’s interactive feature.