Poor Marks for Teachers in Midterms


THE 2018 MIDTERM election came on the heels of widespread teacher unrest that, in part, prompted thousands of educators to run for office. But as results rolled in Tuesday night, spilling into Wednesday and Thursday, it was clear voters ultimately didn’t propel a wave of teachers into elected positions.

According to an Education Week analysis, not even one-quarter of those currently employed as teachers ended up winning: In total, 42 of the 177 educators who filed to run for state legislative seats won, the analysis showed, just shy of 25 percent.

By another count, using publicly available state campaign data, the National Education Association found nearly 1,800 current and former educators, school counselors and school administrators were on the ballot this November running for state legislative seats – a large bulk of them hailing from states that experienced massive teacher protests and walkouts this spring over pay and benefits, including Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

While more teachers ran than is typical – about 1,600 ran in 2016 – early analysis suggests that it wasn’t a teacher sweep.

In Oklahoma, where more than 60 educators were on the general election ballot, according to the NEA, only 22 were elected, according to the Oklahoma Education Association.

In Oklahoma, where more than 60 educators were on the general election ballot, only 22 were elected.

Of note, Oklahoma Democrat Jennifer Esau, an early-childhood special education teacher, lost in her effort to unseat state Sen. Marty Quinn, a Republican who made headlines during the walkout for telling protesting teachers that if they’re unsatisfied with their pay, they should find a new profession.

In Kentucky, at least 10 current or former teachers won seats, but at least 22 lost, the Associated Press reported. Winners include R. Travis Brenda, a high school math teacher who defeated the House majority floor leader, Jonathan Shell, in the GOP primary. Shell was a co-author of a bill that made major changes to teacher pensions.

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