States State of the States

2013 State of the States: N.H., N.J., Va., Wyo.

January 15, 2013 3 min read
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, left, fist bumps Senate President Stephen M. Sweeney as the governor prepares to deliver his State of the State address at the Statehouse in Trenton.

Here are summaries of recent annual addresses by governors around the country.

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) • Jan. 3

In her inaugural address at her swearing-in ceremony, Gov. Maggie Hassan noted a desire to reverse course on spending cuts affecting education over the past few years. “It hurt our young people and, if not quickly addressed, will impair our future economic prosperity,” she said in prepared remarks. She urged the state’s university system to boost the number of students admitted and freeze in-state tuition.

Ms. Hassan, the daughter of educators and the wife of the head of Phillips Exeter Academy, a private, college-preparatory school, applauded the state’s community college system for its adaptation to the needs of New Hampshire residents who choose paths other than traditional universities. “We must continue to support their efforts to build the strong workforce that our businesses need,” she said.

She specifically mentioned that the state must work with the education system and the business community to ensure a “robust and rigorous education” for all students, including in stem fields, noting the state’s colleges and universities’ goal of doubling the number of science, technology, engineering, and math graduates by 2025. “We should embrace that goal and make achieving it a state priority,” she said.

—Nirvi Shah

NEW JERSEY

Gov. Chris Christie (R) • Jan. 8

In a year dominated by the Garden State’s efforts to recover from Hurricane Sandy, education had a low profile in Gov. Chris Christie’s third State of the State address.

The Republican executive made sure, however, to highlight his work last year to expand school choice and to rework teacher tenure.

Despite “entrenched resistance,” Mr. Christie said, the state passed “the first major reform of tenure in 100 years"—an August law that connects tenure to performance and makes teacher dismissals easier. He also mentioned the new Newark teachers’ contract, which includes merit pay.

The number of charter schools grew to 86, a record level in the state, the governor said, and an interdistrict school choice program has expanded to include 6,000 students.

He made no mention of his plans for K-12 in the coming year.

—Catherine Gewertz

VIRGINIA

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) • Jan. 9

In his State of the Commonwealth address, Virginia’s governor proposed giving teachers a 2 percent raise, but tying it to passage of a law that would extend their probationary periods and make it easier to fire them if they underperform.

“Good teachers will advance andflourish; poor ones will not,” Gov. Robert F. McDonnell said.

In a speech dominated by education issues, the Republican chief executive asked lawmakers to approve legislation that would place a reading specialist in every elementary school that scores low on the state’s reading test. He also proposed an A-F system of ranking schools by performance, expansion of charter school laws, and creation of a new school turnaround department that could take over schools after two years of low performance.

—Catherine Gewertz

WYOMING

Gov. Matt Mead (R) • Jan. 9

In his Jan. 9 address, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead called on the legislature, the state education department, and his own office to put aside their differences and work together to implement a new school accountability law.

Apparent friction between lawmakers and state schools Superintendent Cindy Hill resulted in legislation last year that required the governor’s office to sign off on some education spending. Later, a controversial report from the nonpartisan Legislative Services Office questioned the education department’s capacity and commitment to implementing tasks related to the accountability overhaul bill, which passed last March.

Gov. Mead said, however, that the fragmentation of responsibility wasn’t working. “We have seen that siphoning off pieces of the department of education leads to inconsistency and the friction we’ve seen over the last year,” he said. “We are mired down with disputes that are not necessary.”

Without spelling out any particular initiatives, he said that the agencies should find ways to prioritize issues such as higher school graduation rates, dual-immersion language opportunities, charter schools, career-technical education, and school violence.

—Stephen Sawchuk

A version of this article appeared in the January 16, 2013 edition of Education Week as State of the States

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States 8 States Debate Bills to Restrict How Teachers Discuss Racism, Sexism
Proposed bills in several states aim to ban "divisive concepts."
8 min read
Messed up puzzle pieces of an American flag on a dark blue background
iStock/Getty Images Plus
States How to Talk About Next School Year Presents a Big Test for Education Leaders
State K-12 officials must clearly communicate plans for safety, academics, and mental health, while mixing urgency with nuance.
12 min read
Woman applying "Welcome Back" sign to the school entrance
Leo Patrizi/E+/Getty Images
States Two More States Pass Restrictions on Transgender Students. Will Others Follow?
States have considered dozens of bills on the rights of transgender students. They cover everything from sports to pronouns used in schools.
4 min read
Advocates for transgender people march from the South Dakota governor's mansion to the Capitol in Pierre, S.D., on March 11, 2021, to protest a proposed ban on transgender girls and women from female sports leagues.
Advocates for transgender people march from the South Dakota governor's mansion to the Capitol in Pierre to protest a proposed ban on transgender girls and women from female sports leagues.
Stephen Groves/AP
States Vaccine Access Speeds Up for Teachers After Biden's Declaration
The vaccine landscape for teachers shifted dramatically after President Joe Biden directed states to prioritize the K-12 workforce.
7 min read
030321 Vaccine Breaking AP BS
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine is held by a pharmacist at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut on March.
Jessica Hill