Can Education Reform Survive Election Day?

What is at stake for education reform in this election? Read on.

Headed to the polls to vote? That means you'll be deciding who will implement—or possibly not implement—much-needed education reforms. As we've seen in Washington, D.C., with Mayor Adrian Fenty's lost bid for mayoral re-election, and the subsequent resignation of D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, who's in office makes a difference for schools.

The next Congress faces the charge of reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). However, whether that reauthorization will happen seamlessly given that candidates, like Kentucky's Rand Paul, want to completely shutter the federal Department of Education, remains to be seen.

Newly elected governors and state education officials will also be faced with deciding whether or not to follow through on one of the most radical education shifts in modern times, the Common Core Standards Initiative. Historically, individual states have the right to decide what's going to be taught, and they don't always choose the same content or the same level of rigor.

Critics of this approach have long said the differences in state standards make it impossible to ensure that students nationwide get a consistent, high-quality education. It also makes it challenging to compare NCLB-mandated standardized testing data and determine which states are really getting the job done and which need to improve.

Enter the Common Core Standards Initiative, a "state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)." The initiative began developing consistent, national K-12 English and math standards in 2009.

Cash-strapped states jumped on board when the Obama administration made a game-changing move and said that states competing for $4 billion in Race to the Top money could get more application "points" if they agreed to adopt the Common Core Standards. So far, 41 states have signed on to implement these national standards, but all that could change with new political agendas that are focused on local control.

Even Race to the Top could be in jeopardy if next year's congress refuses to continue to fund it. The Republican Party's "Pledge to America" promises to fiscal spending to 2008 levels, meaning that the increased federal spending on education reform could come to an end.

photo (cc)via Flickr user Dwwebber


For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

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NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

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A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

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A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

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via ICE / Flickr

The Connors family, two coupes from the United Kingdom, one with a three-month old baby and the other with twin two-year-olds, were on vacation in Canada when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) turned their holiday into a 12-plus day-long nightmare.

On October 3, the family was driving near the U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia when an animal veered into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour.

The family accidentally crossed into the United States where they were detained by ICE officials in what would become "the scariest experience of our lives," according to a complaint filed with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

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