With Donald Trump’s stunning victory Tuesday, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will become vice president of the United States in January.
One of the big storylines of Pence’s time as Indiana’s governor was his role in the state’s contentious fights over education. A story pubished this morning by Education Week magazine quotes one expert predicting Pence’s expertise in education reform would mean Trump would tap him to lead his administration’s education policy initiatives. In August, Trump picked a staffer from Indiana Republican congressman Luke Messer’s office to formulate his education policies, which led to an agenda that placed a heavy emphasis on school choice.
In contrast with Trump’s brashness, Pence is known as a polite, measured politician who speaks with deliberation. Nonetheless, the one-term governor was far from the center on policy issues. A darling of social conservatives mostly for his support of religious rights and anti-abortion policies, Pence was in a close re-election fight for governor before he withdrew to join Trump’s ticket.
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.
This story has been updated to reflect news that Pence was elected vice president.