The ‘New’ Governors of Education

November 05, 2003 1 min read

Twenty-five states elected new governors last year. Although a number of them have seen success in ushering some of their education proposals through state legislatures, others have run into obstacles. Here is a sampling of the governors who took office in early 2003 and how they’ve done so far.

Gov. Linda Lingle of Hawaii (R) wants to split her state’s unique single school system into locally controlled districts, and is making a series of policy proposals based on the recommendations of a citizens’ panel on school governance and other issues.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas (D) has held a series of town-hall-style meetings across her state to gauge public opinion on K-12 education. She will make her recommendations to lawmakers based in part on the meetings, but is on record as supporting more funding for schools and statewide preschool programs.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota (R) has proposed numerous education policy changes. He wants to form teams of “super teachers,” who each would earn up to $100,000 a year in salaries and bonuses, based on student achievement. He also proposes testing children early to gauge their reading skills and favors suspending driver’s licenses for students who are frequently absent or who drop out of school.

Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico (D) won more power over public education last month when voters approved a measure that creates an all- elected state school board and allows the governor to appoint the state education chief. A plan that will raise state spending on education also passed, but just barely.