With Gov. Mike Pence high on the shortlist of potential running mates for Donald Trump (and rising), the Indiana governor’s role in the contentious state fights over education are likely to soon become national news.
In contrast with Trump’s brashness, Pence is known as a polite, measured politician who speaks with deliberation. Nonetheless, the first-term governor is far from the center on policy issues. A darling of social conservatives mostly for his support of religious rights and anti-abortion policies, Pence is in a close re-election fight this November.
One of the most illuminating education policy decisions Pence has made came before he was elected governor. Pence served more than a decade in the U.S. Congress, where he was one of just 25 Republicans to vote against No Child Left Behind, citing opposition to federal intrusion into education policy.
As governor, Pence has supported expanding charter schools and voucher programs. But Pence’s signature education initiative was a push to create the first state-funded preschool program. Despite opposition from many Republican allies in the state legislature, Pence was a staunch advocate for the small preschool pilot program that launched in 2015.
Pence was also influential in Indiana’s last minute decision not to use the Common Core aligned PARCC test and, eventually, to drop the multi-state standards altogether in favor of new state standards. That decision set off a scramble to craft and administer a new test for Indiana.
For a deep dive into Pence’s record on education, including his work to improve career and technical education programs, read our full basics post: The basics of Mike Pence on education: A battle for control.
Chalkbeat is a nonprofit news site covering educational change in public schools.