Education

Education Reform on the Ballot in Several States

Voters will decide on charter schools, tenure and merit pay, among other issues

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Voters in several states will weigh in next month on some of the most contentious issues in public education, including teacher tenure, charter schools and merit pay for teachers, as a national fight over education reform hits the ballot box.

The campaigns have been fierce and often nasty.

In one corner: proponents of dramatically overhauling public education, including several of America's wealthiest families, led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Wal-Mart heir Alice Walton. They seek to inject more free-market forces into the education system by requiring schools to compete for students and teachers to compete for pay raises.

In the opposite corner: Teachers unions and their allies, on the left, who say the reformers' proposals would strip resources from the public schools without boosting student achievement.

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