This op-ed by State Policy Network’s Erin Norman first published at the Washington Examiner, as part of the Examiner’s Empowering Families in Education Initiative.
Labor Day marks the end of summer, but in an election year, it is also the turning point in which campaigns kick their efforts into high gear — and the 2022 midterm elections are no exception. As summer begins to fade, we can expect pundits to spend more and more time dissecting the issues that will motivate voters to go to the polls and what that means for both political parties.
With record inflation, sky-high gas prices, and two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth, it is unsurprising the economy tops the list of issues voters say they will consider when casting their votes in November. Education, which was cited as a major factor in the 2021 elections, including Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s upset win, is currently a middle-of-the-pack issue according to a recent CNN poll — behind the economy, inflation, voting rights, and gun policy. When asked to pick the most important issue, just 3% said education.
Given these voter sentiments, it might be tempting for politicians to ignore the education issue, relegating it to a “last-cycle” consideration. But candidates who want to win should be wary of dismissing voters’ concerns about education. It might not be the most important issue in this election, but education has become an issue that strongly signals whether politicians are willing to listen to constituents or just want to collect their votes and then have them go away.
Read the full piece in the Washington Examiner here.