2010 Election Results…big edu-implications

November 2, 2010

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Republicans take the U.S. House but the Democrats manage to hold the Senate. Paging Dr. Gridlock…

I just heard Larry Sabato just predict that as many as 10 state House chambers will switch from Democratic majorities to Republican majorities. The Indiana House is one of those chambers, giving Governor Mitch Daniels Republican majorities in each chamber.  Wisconsin may follow suit. Ditto for Ohio– where Kasich is now Governor elect, and Republicans recaptured a House majority and added to their majority in the Senate.

Not all the news is bad for the Democrats, most notably Harry Reid’s victory in Nevada. The majority leader’s son Rory Reid however fell short in the Nevada Governor race against Republican Brian Sandoval. This was an especially interesting race from an education angle, as Sandoval called for Florida reforms, and Reid proposed weighted student funding. Sandoval read Reid’s education plan, and declared that it was a good plan, so he was going to do it and the Florida reforms.

Susana Martinez will be the nation’s first Latina governor after winning the Governor’s office in New Mexico. Governor-elect Martinez platform also incorporated Florida reforms.

Speaking of Florida, the Governor’s race there between Democrat Alex Sink and Republican Rick Scott is very close. Current Florida Governor Charlie Crist is close to being very unemployed. Illinois governor’s race is also neck and neck.

Jerry Brown has won in California over Meg Whitman. Pray for him- the Democrats now control all the levers in Sacramento. The USA will never make progress moving up the education tables with California hanging as an a huge academic albatross around our neck.

Time to sleep. More later.

UPDATE 19 state legislative chambers flipped to the Republicans including full control of Pennsylvania to go along with IN, OH and WI and Michigan. Very tough night for Midwest Dems.

P.S. Republican Rick Scott has narrowly won the Florida governor race.


Can Meg Whitman Save California?

June 17, 2009

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Fortune posed the question back in March and matters have only grown more desperate since. California voters (quite rightly in my view) rejected the Governator’s tax increase initiatives, raising the spectre of default and rumors of a federal bailout.

Living in Arizona, within California’s cultural and economic sphere of influence, you meet California refugees all the time. My colleague at the Goldwater Institute, Clint Bolick, quips that Arizona desperately needs to build a border fence-on our Western border rather than our southern border.

Business Week wonders aloud whether the American economy can recover without California righting its’ economic ship. California had a pretty rotten 1990s overall, with poverty rates significantly higher in 2000 than in 1990. It seems on track to have another rotten decade in the Oughts. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Forbes recently created a list of the top 10 cities for economic recovery, and the 10 worst cities for economic recovery. Four of the best cities were in Texas. Five of the worst were in California. The country could benefit greatly from a reformed California economy rediscovering the vibrancy of the past.  As it is, California is an economic mess.

California is also dragging the nation down educationally. With 1 in 8 of America’s public school students attending California’s terribly underperforming public schools, we have little chance of climbing the international league tables with California performing so poorly.

The public sector unions speak with a loud voice in Democratic Party primaries, and the Democrats have huge majorities in the legislature. Perhaps California’s public sector unions are following the UAW model: suck the blood out of your host and then seek a federal bailout.

I am a confirmed Californiaphobe, but if the question is: can Meg Whitman save California, my only response can be: I certainly hope so.