Like many of you, I performed my civic duty and voted in Tuesday’s midterm election. For the rest of the day, I proudly sported my “I voted” sticker and then rushed home, ordered a pizza, hurried my kids to bed and camped out in front of my TV for the next several hours. I’ll admit I went to bed (a little too late) that night feeling unsettled by some of the results — and yet quite optimistic about some of the others.
After looking at Tuesday’s election results throughout the country, it’s great to see the community support and policy wins for kids and families, both at the state and local levels. Below are a few examples of these wins that I wanted to share to bring you some of the optimism I feel moving into 2019 and beyond.
How fantastic that the next California governor shares our vision of getting better results for kids and understands the role that data plays in identifying what works! A self-described fan of “big, hairy, audacious goals” — a phrase that resonates with those of us in this work — Gavin Newsom supports universal preschool and more quality, affordable child care. He’s been outspoken about making public investments in children younger than 3 to close gaps for low-income children. Newsom also sees higher education as the culmination of a cradle-to-career journey toward upward mobility.
Newsom, a former mayor in San Francisco, also understands the importance of aligning all the different sectors and systems that shape opportunity for youth and families. Other priorities include providing universal health care, offering more affordable housing and reducing the state’s homelessness problem.
Here are other exciting wins to celebrate as well:
- In Wisconsin, by electing State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers as governor, voters have ensured someone in office who will focus on education policy and improvement. His agenda calls for investments in early childhood and quality childcare, educators and postsecondary institutions.
- The people of Minneapolis and St. Paul “voted yes for kids” Tuesday by approving high-stakes school levies. Voters backed $30 million a year in new funding for Minneapolis Public Schools and are likely to approve spending $18.6 million a year in St. Paul Public Schools.
- A $600 million-plus education levy passed by a wide margin in Seattle. At last count, almost 70 percent of voters approved the city’s largest-ever education tax. The seven-year levy, which will support preschool expansion and free community college among other initiatives, is intended to curb disparities for students of color and low-income students that can appear before kindergarten.
- Thanks to the support and advocacy of the Commit Partnership, Dallas voters approved giving more money to the Dallas Independent School District, according to unofficial results. By raising their maintenance and operations tax rate, residents will generate nearly $125 million each year to pay for prekindergarten, specialty school programs and employee raises as well as address racial equity.
- Residents in Oregon approved only one state constitutional amendment Tuesday. With 56 percent of the vote, they said yes to allowing local bond measures to pay for private, affordable housing. A whole state supporting adjacent sector work to make things better for kids and families — that’s amazing! We know that supportive policies in sectors like housing have huge potential to improve the lives of kids and families.
As identified in our new strategic plan, we know policy, advocacy and mobilization are key components for getting better results for youth and families in the coming years as we continue our cradle-to-career efforts. Hopefully, Tuesday’s election results are a sign of the support we will continue to receive from elected officials and policymakers as we strive to advance equity and close gaps for kids. If you saw other terrific policy wins that you’d like to share, please leave a comment below!