Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 19
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
Repercussions for K-12 From Democratic Election Gains
The Democratic gains in last week's
New Jersey, Virginia, and Washington
elections will have repercussions in all
three states in their long-simmering
debates over the expansion of charter
schools, school funding, testing, and other
And the political maneuvers used by
education policy advocates to animate
moderate voters over those issues could
provide a script for other states next
year when 38 governors and four-fifths
of state legislators are up for reelection.
Currently, more than 25 state capitals
are completely controlled by Republicans,
while Democrats hold both the governorships and legislatures in just seven states.
That control will have big implications
for K-12 in coming years, with governors
and state lawmakers taking on added
power to shape their states' education
agendas in the era of the Every Student
"We're really feeling good about our
momentum as we head into a suite of
equally critical races in 2018," said Carrie
Pugh, politics director for the National
Education Association, which represents
three million teachers nationwide. "We
are in a build-back moment [for Democrats]. We have a lot of ground to make
up for going into 2018."
In the New Jersey governor's race,
Democrat Phil Murphy, a financier and
diplomat who has promised to pull the
state out of the PARCC testing consortium, beat the GOP nominee, Lt. Gov.
Kim Guadagno. Democrats also took full
control of the state's legislature.
And in Washington state, Democrats
took control of that state Senate, which
has for years been a singular force opposed to raising taxes in order to comply with a 2012 state supreme court
order to increase the state's minimum
New Jersey Gov.-elect Phil Murphy
By Daarel Burnette II
teacher salaries. Democrats hold control
of the House and the governorship now.
The state also has been in a protracted
legal battle over the expansion of charter
In Virginia, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, a
fierce charter school opponent, beat former Republican party Chairman Ed Gillespie, while Democrats gained 14 seats
to put them just a few seats shy of controlling the House of Delegates. Recounts
The Virginia race, in particular, drew
national attention as a proxy referendum
on President Donald Trump. Closer to
home, school choice and the state's accountability system both found their way
into that state's gubernatorial debates.
Northam said he wanted to roll back
the state's role in improving schools and
Gillespie said he wanted to crack down
on underperforming schools and expand
enrollment options for students at those
As governor, Northam will appoint both
an education secretary, who serves in an
advisory capacity, and a state superintendent. But Republican control of Virginia's
House of Delegates has stalled Democrats'
efforts to permanently increase school
funding in recent years, said Jim Livingston, the president of the Virginia Education Association.
When Gillespie received a $100,000
donation from Dick DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' husband,
it provided an opportunity for the teachers' union to link Gillespie's priorities to
the "DeVos agenda"-a point the union
emphasized over and over on flyers and
in TV ads.
"That will make the conversation a little
more difficult, but overall it's not a huge
change," said Caleb Taylor, the director of
policy for the Virginia Institute for Public
Policy which supports tax-credit scholarships and education savings accounts.
Northam also could make changes
to the state's ESSA plan which awaits
federal approval. He said on the campaign trail that he thought the state
was too reliant on test scores to rate
its schools and put too heavy a hand on
local school districts.
In New Jersey, Gov.-elect Murphy will
Virginia Gov.-elect Ralph Northam
be tasked with repairing a fraught relationship between the New Jersey Education Association, the state's historically powerful teachers' union, and the
state's education department. In recent
years, the state's appointed commissioners of education implemented several of outgoing Republican Gov. Chris
Christie's controversial teacher quality
measures. Christie appointed five commissioners in seven years. Kimberley
Harrington, the current commissioner
who designed the state's federally-approved ESSA plan is appointed and will
likely be replaced.
The state also has been under pressure to upend its decades-old school
funding formula, which has led to increased property taxes. Murphy said he
will seek to keep intact the funding formula in the coming years. And Murphy
also promised to pull the state out of the
PARCC testing consortium and hand
back control to several of the state's
Charter, funding issues
in N.J., Va., Wash. state
TOP: Democrat Phil Murphy, who takes
the governorship in New Jersey, has
said he would seek to keep intact the
state's school funding formula and
give back control to several of the
state's urban districts.
BOTTOM: Democrat Ralph Northam,
newly elected as governor of Virginia,
has said he would seek to roll back the
state's direct role in school
Among the down-ballot races in New
Jersey, State Senate President Steve
Sweeney, a Democrat, beat back opposition from the teachers' union. The union,
which typically backs Democrats, spent
at least $5 million on a campaign to defeat Sweeney, who has fallen out with
the union over, among other things,
how the state should pay down pension funds. The union instead supported
Republican Fran Grenier, a Gloucester County commissioner who backed
Trump in the presidential race.
The union's opposition to Sweeney will
have repercussions down the line, said
Janellen Duffy, the executive director of
New Jersey's JerseyCan, a 50Can affiliate that advocates for school choice and
more school funding.
"It was an intense feud," said Duffy.
"I think there's going to be a new dynamic in Trenton. The union has been
extremely powerful and because of the
strong position that they took and the
extensive amount of money they put
into the race, their aura of invincibility
is going to be changed."
GOP Tax Plans Could Affect K-12 Aid, Teachers' Pocketbooks
By Andrew Ujifusa
Proposed changes to the federal tax code unveiled by Republican lawmakers at the start of this
month would affect teachers' tax
burden, private and charter schools,
and significant amounts of funding
for public schools.
Two different versions of the Tax
Cuts and Jobs Act were introduced in
the House and Senate last week. The
bills don't represent a direct increase
or decrease for federal spending on
schools. However, it could affect both
K-12 funding systems and educators'
pocketbooks in several ways.
If the bill passes Congress and is
signed into law by President Donald
Trump, it would be the biggest shift
to the federal tax system since 1986.
Republicans are aiming to pass the
legislation by the end of the year,
and the House Ways and Means
Committee passed its version of the
legislation last week.
But the proposals face a long and
potentially difficult road ahead in
Perhaps the biggest direct impact
in the legislation would be the repeal of deductions taxpayers could
claim on several state and local
taxes (known in Washington jargon
as SALT). In the House version, although they could still claim a tax
deduction for up to $10,000 of local
property taxes, taxpayers could no
longer deduct state and local income
and sales taxes from their federal
tax returns. In the Senate bill, the
property tax deduction as well as
the income and sales tax deductions
would be repealed.
Republicans say ending the deductions are part of the bills' broader
attempts to simplify the tax code
and also make the tax landscape
fairer across states. But some education advocates are worried that with
many taxpayers forced to declare
more income for federal taxation
under this proposal, state and local
governments would feel significant
pressure to cut their own tax rates
in order to relieve at least some of
the new burden.
State and Local Impact
That, in turn, could shrink the tax
revenue available for state and local
leaders to spend on public schools,
particularly in states where taxes
are relatively high.
A 2011 report from the Center
on Education Policy, a research
organization founded by a former
Democratic aide on Capitol Hill,
estimated that ending all state and
local tax deductions would deprive
schools of $17 billion in funding.
And the deductions were worth $97
billion in state and local government
funding in 2016, according to a separate analysis by former U.S. Department of Education official Michael
"It shows how much this conversation of tax reform is about making
numbers add up and not making it
work for the people they represent,
particularly the people who rely on
the state and local tax deduction, a
lot of middle-class people, and our
EDUCATION WEEK | November 15, 2017 | www.edweek.org | 19
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 15, 2017
Education Week - November 15, 2017
E-Schools Adapting to Transgender Students’ Needs
In Florida, Laissez-Faire Approach to Monitoring Private School Vouchers
New Survey Details Effect of Inclusion on Teaching Time
Are States Changing Course On Teacher Evaluation?
News in Brief
Teaching Parents the Right ‘Questions to Ask’ in Schools
Rising Food Allergies A Challenge for Schools
GreatSchools Expands Its Ratings on Schools
Study: Do Parents Need a Reason To Go School Shopping?
SNAPSHOT: Single-Gender Education
New Mexico Offers Teachers A Seat at Policymaking Table
Repercussions for K-12 From Democratic Election Gains
GOP Tax Plans Could Affect K-12 Aid, Teachers’ Pocketbooks
A One-Year Scorecard for Trump On K-12 Campaign-Trail Promises
A Primer on the Teacher Tax Break
Emily Phillips Galloway, Paola Uccelli & Christina Dobbs: The Power of Precise Language
Adam Urbanski, Tom Alves & Ellen Bernstein: Without Teacher Input, Ed. Reform Is Doomed to Fail
William Sterrett: Time Is a Principal’s Most Limited Resource
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Elaine Weiss & Christopher T. Cross: Education’s Golden Rule
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Are States Changing Course On Teacher Evaluation?
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Cover2
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 3
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 5
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Teaching Parents the Right ‘Questions to Ask’ in Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Rising Food Allergies A Challenge for Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - GreatSchools Expands Its Ratings on Schools
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Study: Do Parents Need a Reason To Go School Shopping?
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - SNAPSHOT: Single-Gender Education
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 11
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 12
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 13
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 14
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 15
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 16
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - New Mexico Offers Teachers A Seat at Policymaking Table
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 18
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - GOP Tax Plans Could Affect K-12 Aid, Teachers’ Pocketbooks
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - A One-Year Scorecard for Trump On K-12 Campaign-Trail Promises
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - A Primer on the Teacher Tax Break
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Adam Urbanski, Tom Alves & Ellen Bernstein: Without Teacher Input, Ed. Reform Is Doomed to Fail
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - William Sterrett: Time Is a Principal’s Most Limited Resource
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Readers React
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - 25
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Cover3
Education Week - November 15, 2017 - Elaine Weiss & Christopher T. Cross: Education’s Golden Rule