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A (Mostly) Good Day for Pre-K at the Polls

07 Nov 2013 by Ginny Vitiello

Expanding access to high-quality pre-K is officially a bipartisan issue! Elections held all over the country this week included measures to increase pre-K funding, and candidates on all sides addressed pre-K in their platforms. Despite major advances over the past decade, though, this election brought a mixed bag of victories and defeats.

So what do the 2013 election results mean for young children and families?

Here in beautiful Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the governor’s seat. Both candidates had strong education platforms, but Republican Ken Cuccinelli focused on K-12 reforms while McAuliffe championed the importance of pre-K in his platform and in numerous stump speeches. His statements have been very short on details, though, so we’ll be waiting to see what happens next. For now, I’m putting this one in the "victories for pre-K" column.

Another race that I’ll chalk up as a victory for pre-K was the mayoral race in New York, won in a landslide by Bill de Blasio. De Blasio has spoken strongly in support of universal pre-K in New York and has put forward a plan to raise taxes on wealthy New Yorkers to make it happen. Actions speak louder than words, though, so we’ll be watching this one, too!

The closely-watched Boston mayoral election could be considered a draw--both candidates had strong education backgrounds. But I’m going to call this one for pre-K, because like in Virginia, the winning candidate, Martin Walsh, has been very explicit about his support for expanding access.

A big one in the defeats column is the $1B Colorado education initiative, which was voted down by Coloradans concerned about facing a tax increase. The measure would have provided full-day kindergarten statewide and could have expanded access to pre-K.

Check out Politico’s Morning Education roundup for more on the election’s implications across the country. Lots of smaller, local issues were decided in the election, too.

How did pre-K fare in your area?

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