Thanks in large part to teachers who were determined to make their voices heard and their votes matter, pro-education candidates chalked up significant victories in yesterday’s midterm elections.
Major wins were scored in the state senate and house as well as in a close gubernatorial race, where education advocate Ned Lamont defeated a challenger whose agenda favored privatization of schools, caps on teacher salaries, anti-union initiatives, and an unrealistic economic plan that threatened to decimate school budgets.
“Teachers made a decisive contribution to these positive outcomes—because they were engaged and informed,” said CEA President Jeff Leake.
In the run-up to the elections, CEA developed its first-ever legislative report card—a comprehensive system of evaluating candidates based on their voting records, interviews, willingness to engage with CEA members, responses to questionnaires on education issues, and recommendations by teachers in their districts. Top pro-education candidates were named to CEA’s honor roll, which was published in the CEA Advisor Special Election Issue and online.
Information is power.
“From the time it was launched in September, CEA’s report card was viewed nearly 75,000 times, in wave after wave—a testament to how engaged our members are and how deeply this election mattered to them,” said CEA Executive Director Donald Williams. “Indeed, CEA members went to the polls in unprecedented numbers, knowing which candidates pledged to protect public education, the teaching profession, and educators’ ability to retire with dignity—and whose plans would unravel teachers’ and students’ rights.”
Every CEA honor roll candidate for a top state officer position prevailed in the midterm elections, as did all honor roll candidates running for Congress. In some races where candidates won by a very narrow margin, teacher turnout was a key factor in putting pro-education candidates over the finish line.
“Key races where a victory was decided by the narrowest of margins also turned out to be races where teachers were most engaged in talking to their colleagues about the issues at stake—from teacher pensions to school funding,” said Leake.
“Even with these key victories, we will still have legislative challenges in the future.” Williams noted, “Now, however, we have more allies working for us, and legislators understand that teachers will continue to hold them accountable on issues that are critical to the teaching profession.”