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8 big consequences tomorrow’s elections could have for K-12 schools

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Most education decisions are local decisions. But the pandemic has thrust education policy onto the national stage, bringing unusual attention to new debates about when to reopen schools and what resources schools need to get back on track.

That means that the elections for president and Congress will almost certainly have some concrete implications for schools in just the next few months. And even though education hasn’t been at the center of President Donald Trump’s or former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaigns, the two candidates offer starkly different visions for the future of America’s schools — when it comes to both navigating the COVID crisis and improving education over the long haul.

Here are eight ways that the choices Americans make next week could affect K-12 schools, and the students they serve, for years to come.

1. Tens, even hundreds, of billions of dollars of federal money for schools are likely at stake.

2. Under a Biden administration, schools would face less federal pressure to reopen buildings, especially without more aid. Trump is likely to keep up the pressure.

3. A Biden administration would boost civil rights enforcement and bring renewed attention to issues like student discipline disparities.

4. The next administration is going to make an important decision about standardized testing this school year.

5. Aside from the pandemic, Biden has promised to spend more on public schools, while the Trump administration has tried to cut the federal education budget.

6. Trump and DeVos would likely continue to prioritize access to private schools, while a Biden administration may ignore them.

7. Biden has promised to reinstate and expand protections for many young immigrants.

8. Whoever controls the Senate will have a say in additions to the Supreme Court — with potentially big consequences for education.

Trust us, this is important stuff and Chalkbeat reporters Kalyn Belsha and Matt Barnum do a deep-dive into what it all means. 

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