In several states—Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan—new Republican majorities through both statehouse chambers and the governorships have created momentum for proposing and enacting education reforms previously impossible. Other states, however, have split houses or splits between governors and the legislatures, and this has come to mean many aborted reforms.
Nevada is just one example, though legislation is facing the same struggles in states like Minnesota: Gov. Brian Sandoval introduced a series of education reforms now becoming common fare: lengthening the time for teacher tenure from one year (!) to three, requiring written evaluations for teachers, end “first in, last out” layoffs, a constitutional amendment to allow vouchers, require school districts to develop open enrollment policies, a merit pay pilot program, and more.
But teachers union-controlled Democrats run Nevada’s legislature, and axed nearly all of these ideas.
I would, of course, not argue for more power concentrating in executive branches (except, perhaps, line-item vetoes); this, rather, is an argument for going out to the people—parents, neighbors, teachers, grandparents—and wholeheartedly and clearly explaining all the reasons why more freedom will create the best education for America’s kids.
It’s also another warning note about the destructive powers in the status quo already arrayed for battle against a still rather motley assemblage of normal people who would much rather live their lives in peace than engage troublemakers. But just such a conflict birthed America.