State of the States
Gov. Napolitano Seeks Kindergarten Expansion
Standing last week before a legislature that appears to have become more conservative following the fall elections, Gov. Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, pledged not to increase taxes and admonished the lawmakers that “we cannot let education be paralyzed by politics.”
In her third State of the State Address, given Jan. 10, Gov. Napolitano asked the legislature to expand her signature project, all-day kindergarten, by an additional 10,000 pupils. The voluntary program enrolled 10,000 children in its inaugural year. In last year’s State of the State Address, the governor outlined a five-year plan to bring all-day kindergarten to all Arizona public schools.
Ms. Napolitano also urged lawmakers to exempt special education students from a coming requirement that students pass the state’s test, Arizona’s Instrument to Measure Standards, or AIMS, to graduate from high school.
“Special education students, who already have individual education plans, should not have to add AIMS to the hurdles they already face,” she said.
Since more than half the state’s junior class has yet to pass the test, which is required for graduation beginning with the class of 2006, the governor said that her budget plan, which was to be released later in the week, would include $10 million for one-on-one tutoring for struggling students.
She also vowed to put at least one “master teacher” in every public school, strengthen the system of teacher professional development, and raise teacher pay by cutting administrative costs.
Vol. 24, Issue 19, Page 18