The election earlier this month brought forth a vigorous national debate on the important issues facing the country. There were also many policy questions on the ballots in various states and communities with implications for public education.
Here is a summary of some important measures passed in this month’s election:
CALIFORNIA: Voters passed Proposition 30 which will increase the state sales tax as well as the income tax on the state’s highest earners in order to prevent a $6 billion budget loss for California schools. This means that districts like Los Angeles Unified School District will be able to hold on to 15 instructional days that would have otherwise been cut.
COLORADO: Denver voters approved two measures that will allow Denver Public Schools to recover from state education funding cuts over the past three years. Measures 3A and 3B, a bond and mill levy, will expanded early education programs, support art, music, and physical education in schools, and school renovations.
GEORGIA and WASHINGTON: Voters in both states passed ballot measures that will allow charter schools in the state. Washington will join 41 other states in allowing public charter schools. Georgia voters opted to approve a ballot measure that will re-establish a statewide charter commission to consider applications by operators to run charter schools throughout the state. Charter schools have flexibilities in staffing and scheduling, and often use an expanded school day and/or year as a foundation of their model.
OHIO: To cut costs last spring, the Cleveland School Board shortened the school day by reducing art, music and gym classes. Starting in January, schools will add back 50 minutes to the school day for grades K-8.
OREGON: Voters in the City of Portland restored arts and music programs to Portland schools and voted to fund the arts citywide. When the school year begins next fall, nearly 70 elementary school arts teachers will be sustainably funded, every elementary school student in Portland’s six school districts will be guaranteed an arts education.
We know that the traditional school calendar does not give students enough time for both core academics and a well-rounded education. TSC is building a movement to ensure that all children in our nation’s high-poverty communities have more and better learning time in school to prepare them for success. We look forward to tracking the movement in these states on policies and practices related to learning time as they prepare their students for college and beyond.