Voters Have Spoken

Quite a number of states have ballot issues relevant to public basic education. As mentioned in previous posts, Maine raises the question of increasing taxes on its wealthy to fund public education, California wants to lift the ban on multilingual education, and in Fairfax county, consumers in restaurants are asked to pay additional tax to support its public schools. While it is clear that Trump has won the presidential election, what is becoming evident with education is that the public is not really in favor of increasing taxes to provide additional funds for public education. In a way, results on election ballot issues on education are in line with the candidate Americans chose to be the next president.

Above copied from EducationWeek
Here are the results.

  • Oklahoma rejected a 1% sales tax increase to fund public education.
  • Missouri rejected a tax increase on tobacco to fund early childhood health and education.
  • The Jefferson, Falls City and Central school districts in the state of Oregon voted against bond measures to fund public education. 
  • Fairfax county in Virginia did not approve the proposed increase in meals tax to support education.
The ballot question in Maine is still too close to call (from Maine's WMTW):

November 09, 2016 - 01:49PM ET
Question - 2 - New Income Tax For Public Ed - Ballot Issue
3% on incomes over $200K
Maine - 565 of 589 Precincts Reporting - 96%
NameVotesVote %
Yes371,083 50%

On the other hand, the proposal in Oregon requiring the legislature to provide at least $800 per high school student for dropout-prevention, technical education, and career and college readiness programs passed overwhelmingly. The state of Massachusetts soundly rejected expansion of charter schools and Georgia did not approve state intervention in “chronically failing” public schools. California voted to lift the ban on multilingual education. California also did not join the trend of rejecting additional school funding by approving $9 billion in bonds. These funds are intended for  $3 billion for new construction and $3 billion for modernization of public school facilities; $1 billion for charter schools and vocational education facilities; and $2 billion for community college facilities. 

While it is clear the Americans still strongly support public basic education, it is also evident that simply putting more money into the system is not seen by many as an acceptable solution. The major problem in public basic education in the United States is not perceived so much as lack in funding but more in terms of how funds are spent and in some cases, how funds are distributed.