The 2020 Election Results: An Outlook for Education Policy

Published November 2020
by Sean Worley, Jennifer Castagna

This memo provides an overview of how the 2020 elections will likely influence federal education policy, particularly in the context of a global pandemic, economic uncertainty, and a national reckoning on racial injustice. This overview is not intended to fully explore all education issues that may be addressed by the federal government under the leadership of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris over the next four years, but it provides initial insights on likely dynamics, priorities, and near-term actions that will have both immediate consequence and set up longer term scenarios. With the Senate balance currently standing at 50-48 toward Republican control, the two runoff elections in Georgia will decide whether the Biden Administration faces a unified Democratic Congress or a divided government. While Democratic control of the Senate would likely allow for a bigger, bolder Democratic agenda in all regards, this memo assumes that there could be a divided Congress and explores what that would mean for the federal education agenda.