Education Week - September 26, 2018 - 1

Education Week
VOL. 38, NO. 6 * SEPTEMBER. 26, 2018

AMERICAN EDUCATION'S NEWSPAPER OF RECORD * © 2018 Editorial Projects in Education * $ 6 


Teachers Running for Office Show Strength in Primaries
vying for
state seats
pass first

By Madeline Will
It's a trend noted by the news media, teachers'
unions, and educators themselves: Fed up with the
state of public education, teachers are running for
And now, a new Education Week analysis shows
that teachers are not only running-they're winning.
Out of the 158 current classroom teachers that
Education Week confirmed were running for their
state legislature, 101 have moved on to the general

election. Thirty-seven of those teachers won their primaries, while 59 ran unopposed. Five are running as
write-in candidates, so they didn't have to go through
a primary.
"If even just a handful of us win a seat [in November], ... then teachers will have a voice at the Capitol-and we haven't had one in so very long," said
Jennifer Samuels, an 8th grade teacher who is running for Arizona's House as a Democrat.
While these teachers are scattered across the country in 32 states, many are in Oklahoma-15 teachers

won their primaries there, and 12 additional teachers in the Sooner State were unopposed. That's about
a 42 percent success rate so far for the 64 teachers
there who filed to run.
In Kentucky, there are five candidates running
write-in campaigns, seven teachers were unopposed
in the primary, and three teachers defeated their opponents-meaning 15 teachers out of 20 who started
campaigns have advanced to the general election.
In Arizona, three teachers have moved on to the
PAGE 13 >

K-12 Funding in Spotlight
As Bitter Rivals Do Battle
For Wis. Governor's Seat
By Daarel Burnette II

Tom Copeland/AP

Brussels, Wis.

Trask Middle School in Wilmington, N.C., served as a shelter for residents who fled the wind and floodwaters of Hurricane Florence.
As of late last week, the school, along with others in the hard-hit New Hanover County school district, remained closed.

Arduous Job of Opening Schools in Florence's Path
By Denisa R. Superville
When the heavy rains from Hurricane
Florence finally let up, members of the
operations crew from the New Hanover
County school district in North Carolina
could see the overwhelming inventory of
repairs facing them: flooded classrooms,
leaking roofs, downed trees, blown-out
light bulbs on one athletic field, a massive
sinkhole in front of a high school, and no
electricity in most schools.

Jeff Bezos'
Pre-K Move

But of all the damage that Superintendent Tim Markley had seen in the first
few days after Florence made landfall
near Wrightsville Beach, a community in
his district, there was one image he could
not shake-the sight of one of his teachers
arriving at a shelter.
"It's kind of tough when you are operating a shelter, and you see one of your
teachers walk into that shelter, and all
she's got-all that's left-is what she is
carrying in her hand," said Markley, who
spent the better part of two days at two of

By Michele Molnar
The world's richest man says he wants to help
tackle one of the biggest issues in education: improving early-childhood learning.
But what exactly does Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
mean when he says the new network of nonprofit
preschools he's planning will be "Montessori inspired," and will "use the same set of principles"
that have pushed his giant online retail and cloudcomputing company toward a $1 trillion valuation?
Experts in the fields of early childhood, the business
of education, and ed tech confess to not being sure.

his schools that were being used as shelters in Wilmington.
"You want me, in two weeks, to have
that person come in and teach 30 kids as
they are trying to get their life back together?" Markley said.
That searing moment encapsulates the
monumental challenges facing school districts in the Carolina communities that
bore the brunt of Florence's wrath as they
try to get back to the way things were
before the storm: fixing shattered winPAGE 12>

"I really have no idea," said Trace Urdan, the
managing director of investment-consulting firm
Tyton Partners. "We're all just imposing our predispositions onto the whole thing."
Here's what we do know: Bezos and his wife
MacKenzie are contributing $2 billion to establish
the philanthropic Bezos Day One Fund. The effort
will have two main thrusts: launching and operating new preschools in underserved communities,
and tackling homelessness among young families. And further details? "Stay tuned," Amazon
vice president of corporate communications Drew
PAGE 10>

Last fall, Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker
used Southern Door High School's newly installed 3D
printing lab in this small town near Green Bay as a
backdrop to propose a $639 million increase in public
school funding.
"We know that ensuring our students' success, both
in and outside the classroom, is critical to the state's
continued economic success," said Walker, now in a
fierce campaign for a third term against long-time
state schools chief Tony Evers.
The Southern Door County schools, administrators say, got almost none of that money. In fact, the
1,029-student district-rural, losing students, and
hampered by tax revenue caps put in place more than
20 years ago-had to make severe budget cuts this
year and pull an extra $200,000 out of its savings account. If a referendum on the county ballot this fall
allowing the district to exceed its revenue cap fails to
pass, there will likely be more cuts next fiscal year.
The intricacies of Wisconsin's school spending and
whether districts like Southern Door need more or less
money from the state has come to dominate the gubernatorial contest between Walker and Evers, both of
whom have made their education records a high-profile
piece of their pitch to Wisconsin voters in the November election.
Walker says that by leading the charge to turn WisPAGE 18>

What Skills Do Students
Really Need For Work?
There's a gap
between what
schools teach and
what employers

See the pullout
section opposite
Page 12.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - September 26, 2018