A Hobbesian choice in Alabama. The good news is that the nation’s cotton state has finally gotten around to striking racist language from its 1901 constitution; the bad news is that if you vote for the proposed amendment that will make the deletion, you will also vote for language in Amendment 111, according to NPR, which states that “nothing in this constitution shall be construed as creating or recognizing any right to education or training at public expense.” It seems that Alabamians have a love-hate relationship with their constitution, which has more than 850 amendments and is, says NPR, “among the longest in the world.” States rights, anyone?
Ohio the swing state The Columbus Dispatch calls this year’s election for State Board of Education members “a game of musical chairs.” Seven of the 19 seats are up for grabs. But since eight members are appointed by the governor, the seven contested seats represent most of the rest of the members who are running for a four-year term. The state has had its challenges this year, including school attendance cheating scandals that one report said “shake the foundations of Ohio’s school accountability system,” the resignation of the state superintendent under an ethics cloud, and data rigging by a number of districts. You can bet that the presidential candidates, who seem to be living in Ohio, aren’t talking much about education in the Buckeye state.
Charter schools for Washington state. Believe it or not, the Evergreen State does not have any charter schools, one of only nine states not to have any of the publicly financed and privately run schools, according to this Wall Street Journal editorial. And not for lack of trying: this will be the fourth attempt. The Journal, not surprisingly, blames the previous defeats on the states teachers union and its allies, “their dues money and scare tactics.” This year may be different, suggests the paper. Bill Gates, Paul Allen, the parents of Jeff Bezos, and a Seattle venture capitalist have all contributed to the Yes movement, which, according to one poll, enjoys an eight point lead.
And then there’s Idaho. In the same WSJ editorial we learn that the spud state has three initiatives on this year’s ballot. They would, says the Journal, “phase out teacher tenure, limit collective-bargaining rights, and institute a merit-pay plan that gives bonuses to better-performing teachers,” representing some of the most far-reaching reforms in the country.”