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State of the States: How Do Our Governors Stack Up on Education?

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Governors all over the country are in the midst of delivering their State of the State addresses, laying out their reflections on the last year and where they plan to go this year. What better time than during National School Choice Week for reformers to compare and challenge – what’s your chief executive’s record compared to when he or she ran for office and what have they done?

CER’s Educationfifty.com offers analysis on where governors stand on three core edreform tenets: 1) strong charter school laws, 2) meaningful school choice, and 3) strong teacher quality efforts, providing information to help you gauge whether they are acting on their original commitments, today.

From Boston, Mass. where there is a major cap lift going on and a governor that’s been true to his promises, to Tennessee where progress toward full vouchers for the most needy is finally on a positive path and holds hope for that governor’s initial promises, it’s important to not just know but highlight how state chief executives are doing in ensuring innovation thrives in our schools.

With states our laboratories for change, it’s a critical time just one month into the new year to take stock.

Here’s a list of State of the State addresses that have already occurred, and whether or not education reform was addressed (Click on a state’s name to be taken to full Education50 analysis):

Alaska
Gov. Walker’s State of the State address touched on the need to ensure high-quality educators for Alaska’s children.

Arizona
Gov. Ducey, in his State of the State address, discussed philanthropic foundations that are investing into the state education system and his intent to partner with them to expand opportunities for low-income children (and to further arts and sciences programs).

California
Gov. Brown’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

Colorado
Gov. Hickenlooper’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

Florida
Gov. Scott’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

Georgia
Gov. Nathan Deal touched on teacher quality reform in his State of the State e address, stating that he created a Teacher Advisory Committee by executive order to help retain lead teachers, increase assistant teacher salaries and maintain classroom quality. He also mentioned that this year’s budget would include funding for the Education Reform Commission, tasked with examining Georgia’s education system and reporting “bold” recommendations on how to improve it, but he did not go into specifics.

Hawaii
Gov. Ige’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

Idaho
Gov. Otter mentioned teacher quality reform in his State of the State address, discussing the need to invest in the professional development of teachers in order to successfully retain them. He called for more than $38 million to continue putting the teacher career ladder in place.

Indiana
In the State of the State address, Gov. Pence noted that the state now has one of the largest school voucher programs in the country. He also stated that Indiana has become the first state in the U.S. to make vocational and career education a priority in high schools.

Iowa
Gov. Branstad’s State of the State address noted increased funding for teacher leadership.

Kansas
Gov. Brownback’s State of the State address discussed the necessity of quality teachers and how they build the education system. He addressed implementing innovative options like merit pay in order to reward exceptional teachers.

Massachusetts
Gov. Baker discussed his support for expanding the availability of public charter schools across the state in his State of the State address. He mentioned lifting the cap that the state holds on charter schools because, “These are families that can’t afford to move, and they can’t afford to send their kids to private schools. This is their chance – and it’s a good one.”

Michigan
Gov. Snyder, in his State of the State address, mentioned that he would like to see an educational system where parents, students and teachers look to a more proactive approach.

Missouri
Gov. Nixon’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

Nebraska
Gov. Ricketts’ State of the State address did not address education reform.

New Jersey
Gov. Christie’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

New Mexico
Gov. Martinez’s State of the State address discussed the need for a quality teacher in every classroom.

New York
Gov. Cuomo stated in his State of the State address that charter schools are public schools and “education laboratories”, and he is proud that they serve some of the neediest students, nearly 100,000 across the state. He said charters are an important option for communities with failing schools, and an economical option, and he encourages their development in this budget.

South Carolina
Gov. Haley, in her State of the State address, noted that she wants to end the high turnover of teachers in rural and poor districts. She proposed paying for state college tuition of teachers who would agree to spend eight years teaching in a rural or poor district.

South Dakota
Gov. Daugaard addressed the need to retain and recruit high-quality teachers saying, “the key to student achievement is an effective teacher,” in his State of the State address.

Vermont
Gov. Shumlin’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

Virginia
Governor McAuliffe’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

Washington
Gov. Inslee’s State of the State address did not address education reform.

West Virginia
Gov. Tomblin noted in his State of the State address that he created the Innovation in Education Grant Program designed to reward teachers and students in West Virginia for innovation and creativity in the classroom.

Visit Educationfifty.com today, and check back often as State of the State addresses continue through February.

 

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