In the immediate aftermath of the midterm elections, first reports asserted that the teachers’ revolt fizzled at the ballot box. So many teachers ran for the state legislature, they said, and only three or four or five won. But consider, the teachers who entered politics were novices, with no money, no experience, no name recognition. Congratulations to those who dared to enter the political arena! Don’t give up!

The Guardian has a very different take on the role of teachers in the recent election.

Midterms show educators have been swept into office in record numbers

A wave of pro-education energy, spurred by the April walkouts, led to election victories in Oklahoma, Arizona and Wisconsin

The Guardian writes:

A new wave of teachers’ strikes could soon hit US schools, with educators in Chicago and Los Angeles considering walkouts. And after the midterm elections, they will have stronger allies.

Across the country, in Arizona, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, teachers made huge gains in the midterm elections – a movement that grew out of the #RedforEd campaign that saw teachers protesting across the country to reverse years of conservative cuts to public education.

Last April, thousands of teachers across the state of Oklahoma went on strike; making increased funding for education and a seat at the table in education a priority. Now, educators have been swept in record numbers into office in Oklahoma. Earlier this month, 16 educators were elected to the Oklahoma state house; bringing the total number of educators in the state legislature to 25.

The wave of pro-education energy helped Kendra Horn become the first Democrat to be elected from Oklahoma’s fifth congressional district in 44 years and the first female Democratic representative to the House from Oklahoma.

Horn, 42, made education funding a central focus of her campaign and had many teachers going door-to-door on her behalf.

“We saw a greater involvement of teachers than ever before during this political process over the last six months when we moved from the walkout to the elections and teachers found their collective voice and they aren’t going anywhere,” said the Oklahoma Education Association vice-president, Katherine Bishop.

Carri Hicks, a fourth-grade teacher from Deer Valley in the suburbs of Oklahoma City, was one of those striking teachers elected to the state senate on 6 November; flipping a seat previously held by a Republican to the Democratic column.

Hicks said that she saw how the issue of education funding was able to win so many voters for the Democrats.

She said many voters had previously had trouble understanding the link between education cuts and the tax cuts the state gave to corporations and the oil and gas industry. That changed after the teachers’ strike.

“I feel like the walkout really brought those inequities to light and people were much more willing to have that conversation because they understood the magnitude,” said Hicks. “You know, finally, having a united front and coming together shed light on some dark places in our public education system and was powerful.”

In Arizona, where more than 70,000 teachers and their supporters marched on the state capitol in April, teachers made big gains at the ballot box; electing a former college educator, Kyrsten Sinema, as senator, defeating a ballot measure that would have expanded education vouchers in the state and making gains in the state legislature.

Teachers also helped elect 31-year-old school speech therapist Kathy Hoffman as Arizona state school superintendent, the first time in 25 years that a Democrat has held the office in Arizona.

Two years ago, after watching the Betsy DeVos confirmation as secretary of education, Hoffman, a member of the American Federation of Teachers, decided to run for Arizona schools superintendent. Hoffman used her network of teacher activists to defeat better-funded opponents, both Democratic and Republican.

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