State of the States (2012)

January 21, 2012 36 min read
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Education Week’s coverage of the governor’s speeches in 2012.


Gov. Robert Bentley (R), Feb. 7

In his annual address to lawmakers, Gov. Robert Bentley urged them to allow a “limited number” of charter schools to begin operating in the state. Alabama now is just one of a handful of states that do not allow for the creation of charter schools.

Separately, despite budgetary pressures, Gov. Bentley pledged to protect funding for education initiatives, including a literacy program, distance learning, and a program aimed at boosting mathematics and science education, as well as the state’s prekindergarten program. “We will make sure children are ready to compete and learn, knowing that they have access to the health-care services they need and deserve,” he said. —Alyson Klein


Gov. Sean Parnell (R), Jan. 19

In his annual speech to the legislature, Gov. Sean Parnell commended the state on maintaining economic stability, with a $13 billion surplus and an unemployment rate 1½ points below the national average, at a time when many states are struggling to stay in the black. Alaska’s strong economy is driven by oil production, said Gov. Parnell. He also congratulated legislators on establishing the Alaska Performance Scholarship, which provides scholarships for students who opt for a more rigorous curriculum in high school. He asked lawmakers to create a fund for those scholarships so they may be used for future generations as well. —Katie Ash


Gov. Jan Brewer (R), Jan. 9

In her State of the State address to Arizona lawmakers, Gov. Janice K. Brewer made no specific policy announcements about K-12 education, highlighting instead the state’s role as a “leader in allowing parents to choose a school that best meets their children’s needs.”

The governor pledged to provide “quality teachers, a safe environment, a setting of a parent’s choosing, data-driven decisions, and the highest of standards,” in the state’s public schools, but offered no specifics about how she would deliver on those promises.

Gov. Brewer also promised that the additional 1 cent sales tax she had supported in 2010 to help the state weather the economic recession would expire in 2013 as scheduled. Two-thirds of the revenue generated by that tax has gone toward the state’s public schools. The governor did not say how the state would make up for the loss of those funds for public schools. —Lesli A. Maxwell


Gov. Mike Beebe (D)

At this time there is no information about the governor’s plans to give an address.


Gov. Jerry Brown (D), Jan. 18

California Gov. Jerry Brown, whose state has teetered through repeated budget crises in recent years and made major school spending cuts, is again pitching tax hikes as a way to avoid further reductions in education.

The governor, a Democrat, used his annual State of the State address to promote a plan to ask California voters in November to approve taxes on individuals earning more than $250,000 a year, and to raise sales and use taxes by half a percent, both on a temporary basis.

Republican state lawmakers in 2011 stymied Mr. Brown’s efforts to place a series of tax increases and extensions on the ballot. This year’s plan would put tax decisions directly in the hands of California voters.

If the ballot measures are not approved, the state will have no alternative but to pare $5 billion from the budget for the 2013 fiscal year—much of it from K-12, the governor said. California faces an estimated budget shortfall of $9 billion, after closing a much larger fiscal gap of $26 billion last year.

Gov. Brown told lawmakers that a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts to the overall budget—his proposal calls for $92.5 billion in general-fund spending— would help put California’s schools on sturdier ground financially. “Neither is popular, but both must be done,” the governor said. He argued that his proposal for new taxes was both “fair” and “temporary.”

He also touted his recent proposals to overhaul California’s school funding and testing systems. Mr. Brown is calling for replacing the current funding system with a “weighted student formula” that would provide a basic level of aid and channel additional resources to disadvantaged students and English-language learners.

“This will give more authority to local school districts to fashion the kind of programs they see their students need,” he told the legislature, according to a transcript of the Jan. 18 speech. “It will also create transparency, reduce bureaucracy, and simplify complex funding streams.”

Gov. Brown said the state’s testing system eats up too much class time and is too slow to give schools information that can inform instruction. He said he wants to cut the number of tests and “get the results to teachers, principals, and superintendents in weeks, not months.”

Mr. Brown was elected in 2010, returning to an office he had held for two earlier terms, from 1975 to1983. After inheriting a massive budget shortfall, he and the legislature eventually approved an $86 billion state budget that cut spending by 6 percent for fiscal 2012 and cut the K-12 general fund by 4 percent, to $34 billion.

But lawmakers were counting on revenue projections that did not occur, which has left the state with a higher-than-expected shortfall headed into next year. —Sean Cavanagh


Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Jan. 12

Finding additional revenue for education is “one of our greatest budget pressures,” declared Gov. John Hickenlooper in his State of the State address. Noting voters’ rejection in November of a ballot measure to increase sales and income taxes to pay for schools, he said the key is further economic development. “That is one reason job growth is so critical,” he said.

The governor also referenced a 2011 district court decision to strike down the state’s school finance system, reiterating his intention to appeal it to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the governor said efforts are under way on what he called bipartisan legislation “to make Colorado a national model for early literacy,” and he urged lawmakers to back it. He also called on them to approve rules to implement a new teacher-evaluation system for the state, as well as $7.7 million to help the state implement that approach. —Erik W. Robelen


Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D), Feb. 8

Saying that reform is necessary for a “full-scale economic revival,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy offered a $128 million education package to state lawmakers that would revamp teacher tenure laws, make it easier for schools to open in the state, and place Connecticut’s lowest-performing schools into a “Commissioner’s Network” that would manage them at the state level.

Connecticut’s $20 billion state budget operates on a two-year cycle. The governor’s plan would require adjustments to the second year. —Christina A. Samuels


Gov. Jack Markell (D), Jan. 19

Expanded support for early-childhood programs and revamping teacher evaluation were the centerpieces of Gov. Jack Markell’s education agenda in his State of the State address.

Gov. Markell said that even though Delaware’s two federal Race to the Top grants—including one for its early-childhood plans—show leadership in education, it’s time to “press ahead” with further improvements. Chief among them are implementing a teacher-evaluation system, based in part on students’ progress, and making bigger investments in early-childhood education, he said.

Topping the early-childhood list is the training of its professionals, equipping classrooms with the best instructional tools possible, and monitoring centers’ work to ensure continual improvement. Gov. Markell wants to have 80 percent of the state’s needy preschoolers in high-quality programs in four years, up from the current 20 percent.

He also called for expansion of the state’s world-language initiative. Delaware students are already required to study a foreign language to graduate from high school. The governor now proposes creating half-day foreign-language immersion programs in 20 schools. —Catherine Gewertz


Gov. Rick Scott (R), Jan. 10

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who oversaw major cuts to school funding last year, is now asking state lawmakers to boost spending on education, though Democrats say his proposal doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

The first-term Republican, in his annual State of the State address, reiterated his call for increasing spending on schools by $1 billion annually, a plan that would boost per-student funding by about 2 percent, to $6,372.

In a speech that was otherwise heavy on anti-tax and anti-government themes, Gov. Scott said he was proposing increased funding for schools in response to calls from state residents.

“I heard one thing very clearly, over and over,” said Mr. Scott, according to his prepared remarks. “Floridians truly believe that support for education is the most significant thing we can do to ensure both short-term job growth and long-term economic prosperity for our state.”

Last year, the governor and the state’s GOP majority in the legislature angered teachers by approving deep cuts to K-12 spending, and laws that phased out tenure and implemented merit pay for teachers and required them to pay more for pensions.

Florida Democrats greeted Gov. Scott’s call for new education funding skeptically, saying he was proposing to raise funding for schools by gutting other government programs, particularly in health care. Those gains would not fill the hole left by earlier cuts, they argued. Nan Rich, the Democratic minority leader in the state Senate, said the governor’s budget created a “false choice, pitting our hospitals against our teachers.” —Sean Cavanagh


Gov. Nathan Deal (D), Jan. 10

In his second State of the State address, Gov. Nathan Deal gave a more bullish speech than his first, proclaiming that Georgians had successfully climbed “a mountain” during a past year that offered substantial financial difficulties. And in announcing moderate increases in education spending going forward, he declared that “our schools are the frontline in our effort to create prosperity.”

Gov. Deal’s fiscal 2013 budget would pour nearly $200 million into the state’s general education fund, an increase of 2.9 percent from initial fiscal 2012 state funding levels, which were increased during the fiscal year. The total proposed education department budget for fiscal 2013 would rise to $8.2 billion, from $8.5 billion, including federal funds.

The first-term governor also praised legislation that made slight cuts to keep the state’s hope college-scholarship program alive during last year’s legislative session. The program now offers full scholarships only to students who graduate high school with a 3.7 grade point average and 1200 sat score attending in-state postsecondary institutions, and partial scholarships to other students previously eligible for full scholarships.

The governor’s budget also proposes extending the prekindergarten school year from 160 to 170 days. He also announced the creation of the Go Build Georgia vocational-training initiative, a public-private partnership designed to educate young people and the public at-large about skilled trades. —Ian Quillen


Gov. Neil Abercrombie (D), Jan. 23

In his annual State of the State address, Gov. Neil Abercrombie expressed a desire to continue negotiations with the Hawaii State Teachers Union after his most recent proposed six-year teacher contract was rejected in a vote by the union Jan. 19. The proposal included plans to restore teacher pay to 2009 levels, after which public employees took a 5 percent pay cut as part of a cost-saving measure, and to establish a performance-based teacher-evaluation system to be implemented in 2013-14. Failure to ratify the new proposal has threatened the state’s retention of its $75 million Race to the Top grant, which has been flagged as “high risk” by the U.S. Department of Education.

Gov. Abercrombie also requested an additional $2.9 million for the Hawaii Broadband Initiative, in part to initiate a 1-to-1 laptop program for students in the state, and pressed for more-robust and expanded early-childhood education for more children. —Katie Ash


Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter (R), Jan. 9

Declaring that jobs and education are his “top two” budget and policy priorities, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter called for boosting state spending on public schools in the upcoming fiscal year in his annual State of the State address.

Gov. Otter pledged to increase funding for K-12 education by $31.6 million in the fiscal year that begins July 1 and “fully fund” a slate of education reforms known as “Students Come First” that he signed into law in 2011. Those reforms include expanding technology in schools throughout Idaho and requiring students to take online courses, as well as placing restrictions on collective bargaining.

The governor also asked state lawmakers to support his bid to replenish a reserve account for public education with $29 million that the state had mostly depleted in recent years because of the recession. —Lesli A. Maxwell


Gov. Pat Quinn (D), Feb. 1

In a State of the State address focused largely on economic themes, Gov. Pat Quinn argued in favor of setting more ambitious targets for college completion, providing more student financial aid, and taking additional steps to renovate schools.

The Democrat, whose party controls both legislative chambers, told lawmakers that Illinois must raise the percentage of adults in the state who have a college degree or career certificate to 60 percent by 2025, from 43 percent now. To accomplish that goal, the state will need to boost funding for early-childhood education and provide more money for college scholarships, he said.

“The best economic tool a state can have is a strong, innovative education system,” Gov. Quinn said. “Jobs follow brainpower.

Mr. Quinn also alluded to the state’s passage last year of major education legislation—approved with bipartisan support and significant backing from teachers’ unions—that set new, tougher standards for teacher performance and advancement. He appeared to take a jab at Republican governors in Ohio and Wisconsin who signed legislation last year reducing teachers’ and other public employees’ collective bargaining rights. “Here in Illinois,” he said, “unlike other states in the Midwest, we believe in the right of working people to organize.” —Sean Cavanagh


Gov. Mitch Daniels (R), Jan. 10

Gov. Mitch Daniels, who proclaimed that no other state devotes more of its money to education, urged lawmakers this year to focus their attention on ending the “cruel, defeatist practice” of promoting students to 4th grade even if they cannot read by the end of 3rd grade.

He also called on the Indiana General Assembly to take a bite out of rising college costs by empowering the state’s higher education governing body to control “credit creep,” in which some colleges and universities require more credits—and tuition—for graduation from certain programs than do other colleges.

In his speech, Gov. Daniels also praised lawmakers for changing teacher-evaluation laws and creating a statewide voucher program to help students transfer to other schools, including private ones. —Michele McNeil


Gov. Terry Branstad (R), Jan. 10

Gov. Terry Branstad told state lawmakers in his annual addressthat he’d like to beef up entrance standards for teacher colleges, create a new assessment to figure out how well kindergartners are learning, and establish an Innovation Acceleration Fund offering competitive grants to schools to scale up promising practices.

“Iowa has some highly innovative schools, and we should encourage more schools to be innovative,” Gov. Branstad said. “Youngsters need more opportunities to engage in real-world experiences—including internships—in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

Mr. Branstad also said the department of education would work with educators to develop standards for a range of subjects, including the arts, music, character education, physical education, foreign language, and “entrepreneurship education.” He also said the department would work with teachers to craft end-of-course tests for key subjects to make sure high school graduates are prepared for college or the workforce. —Alyson Klein


Gov. Sam Brownback (R), Jan. 11

In his second State of the State message, Gov. Sam Brownback said school districts will have more flexibility in how they spend their money and can rest assured that Kansas’ contribution to their budgets would be preserved. He reiterated a plan he outlined to change the state’s school finance formula, the target of a lawsuit that is scheduled for trial this summer. The plan would also allow unlimited local control of property taxes for educational purposes.

“Local districts should be allowed to invest in the excellence of their schools to the extent their voters believe is appropriate. As more districts make those investments, my plan establishes a mechanism which will protect poorer districts so that they, too, benefit,” Gov. Brownback said. The state’s poorest school districts would split an additional $45 million under his proposal.

He said his new school finance formula should last four years, “thus ending the cycle of litigation and beginning a cycle of legislation.” —Nirvi Shah


Gov. Steven L. Beshear (D), Jan. 4

As soon as state revenues recover, Gov. Steven L. Beshear pledges to invest more money in early-childhood education, saying in his State of the State address that “nothing will have more impact on the future of this state.” He also urged lawmakers to create an early childhood advisory council to coordinate early-childhood education in the state—a council he created by executive order but wants put into law.

Gov. Beshear also used his speech to call for improving career and technical education in the state. He wants to move the state program, currently housed in the Kentucky workforce investment, into the education department.

And he wants lawmakers to increase the dropout age to 18 from 16—a change he’s sought, unsuccessfully, during the past two legislative sessions. “In Kentucky alone, 6,000 students drop out before their 18th birthday every year,” he said. “As a direct result, they are more likely to be unemployed, to earn significantly less money when they do find work, and to find themselves on welfare or in prison. By letting them jeopardize their future, we are failing our youth, and we are costing Kentucky taxpayers millions of dollars.” —Michele McNeil


Gov. Bobby Jindal (R), March 12

Check back for coverage of the governor’s address.


Gov. Paul LePage (R), Jan. 24

Gov. Paul LePage promised to introduce a “series of reforms” related to teacher effectiveness in the coming months, but otherwise only spoke in generalities about K-12 education in his second State of the State address.

Saying that the Maine state government “has a new attitude,” the first-term governor highlighted the legislature’s enactment last year of a measure that allows charter schools to operate in the state. Maine became the 41st state to adopt a charter school law. The governor also pledged to expand and improve Maine’s career and technical education programs; doing so would give students access to a wider array of educational opportunities, he said.

“As we put students first,” Gov. LePage said, “we must recognize that some students learn best working with their hands.” He told lawmakers that “some kids aren’t going to pick up geometry in a textbook,but will in the context of trades such as woodworking, welding, or machining.” —Leslie A. Maxwell


Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), Feb. 12

Facing a $1 billion deficit, Gov. Martin O’Malley called on the legislature to protect its investments in education and support his controversial call to shift a greater portion of payment for teacher pensions to local governments.

Much of the focus of Gov. O’Malley’s State of the State address was on job creation. But he bundled the issue with education, urging lawmakers to “make the right investments” to yield a solid future for the state’s citizens. If the legislators are tempted to cut education spending, he said, they should be aware that “everything has a cost.”

He proposes having the state’s 23 counties and the city of Baltimore pay half of the $955 million the state now contributes annually to teacher pensions. The state, in turn, would pick up a share of teachers’ Social Security costs, which it has not previously done. The net loss to local governments would be about $240 million a year.

To increase revenues to support key areas such as education, the governor proposes capping or phasing out some state income-tax deductions and exemptions for the highest-earning 20 percent of Marylanders, and raising taxes on cigar sales and some online purchases, as well as a tax that pays for sewage-treatment plants. —Catherine Gewertz


Gov. Deval Patrick (D), Jan. 23

Check back for coverage of the governor’s address.


Gov. Rick Snyder (R), Jan. 18

In his second State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder praised Michigan lawmakers for making changes to teacher-tenure laws and lifting the cap on the number of charter schools that universities can authorize.

“Now we have a better system to support our teachers, recognize their critical role, and create an environment that supports their success,” Mr. Snyder said. The new policy changes enacted last year eliminates seniority-based staffing decisions, and increases the amount of time it takes to earn tenure from four to five years. The cap of 150 on university-chartered schools will end by 2015.

The governor said the percentage of students in the state classified as “college- and career-ready” remains unacceptably low, however. Citing the “Michigan Dashboard,” a website created by his administration that provides a snapshot of key state indicators, Mr. Snyder noted that in 2009-10, 16 percent of the state’s students met the college-readiness benchmarks of the act college-entrance exam. That proportion rose to 17.3 percent in 2010-11, but “we need to be 100 percent college- and career-ready for our young people,” Gov. Snyder said.

The governor plans to present his proposed budget to the legislature Feb. 9. —Christina A. Samuels


Gov. Mark Dayton (R), Feb. 15

In his second State of the State address, Gov. Mark Dayton highlighted a number of K-12-related accomplishments from 2011, including an $190 million increase in spending on public schools, a roughly 1 percent increase over the previous biennium. While lawmakers agreed to raise the per-pupil aid formula by $50 per student in the current biennium, that increase comes on the heels of a more than $2 billion delay in state aid payments to public schools that helped the governor and lawmakers break a nearly three-week-long budget impasse that shut down the government last summer.

Gov. Dayton unveiled no new education policy initiatives for 2012, but called on lawmakers who propose legislation related to public schools to do so “in cooperation with teachers, rather than in conflict with them. The best education for all Minnesota students should not be a political ploy.” —Leslie A. Maxwell


Gov. Phil Bryant (R), Jan. 24

Check back for coverage of the governor’s address.


Gov. Jay Nixon (D), Jan. 17

Higher education in the state faces a budget cut, but K-12 education would receive a net increase in aid under a $23 billion fiscal 2013 budget proposal released by Gov. Jay Nixon in his address to the state’s general assembly.

Mr. Nixon proposed spending about $3 billion for state aid to elementary and secondary education, up from $2.8 billion in fiscal 2012. Community colleges and universities would have to absorb a $106 million cut, to about $741 million under his proposal. The university system has had to face cuts for the previous two years.

“I haven’t met one parent or one teacher in Missouri who thinks we should balance our budget by taking money from their kids’ classrooms,” the governor said. But, he added, the state’s colleges and universities must continue to look for more ways to cut overhead and administrative costs and “run smarter, more-efficient operations.” —Christina A. Samuels


Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D)

At this time there is no information about the governor’s plans to give an address.


Gov. Dave Heineman (R), Jan. 12

Gov. Dave Heineman used his State of the State address to talk only in broad terms about the condition of education in Nebraska, declaring that the state has “economic and education momentum.”

“Working with our citizens, we have developed a bold, innovative, and strategic vision to grow our economy and to strengthen our education system,” he said. Gov. Heineman offered no new K-12 proposals, and instead focused on a major tax proposal he’s backing that would lower tax rates for businesses and low-income and middle-class families. —Michele McNeil


Gov. Brian Sandoval (R)

At this time there is no information about the governor’s plans to give an address.

New Hampshire

Gov. John Lynch (D), Jan. 31

In his final State of the State address, Gov. John Lynch said that while public education spending has increased, he supports a constitutional amendment that would allow the state to give some districts more money than others. A state Supreme Court ruling said the state must spend the same base amount for every student in every town.

“I support a bipartisan amendment that would improve our ability to give every child the opportunity for a quality education. I remain committed to working with any legislator who shares the goal of an amendment that allows us to target state education aid and affirms the state’s responsibility to our schools,” said the governor, who said last fall he would not seek a fifth two-year term. “And I will oppose any amendment that would allow the state to abandon its responsibility for educating our children.”

He also supports legislation that would establish a building-aid budget, prioritize projects, and increase the match available to school districts with the greatest facility needs.

In his speech, the governor toutedthe state’s adoption of a compulsory school attendance age of 18, up from 16, in 2010. But he also noted that the state’s most recent budget reduced funding to public colleges and universities by half. “This is exactly the type of shortsighted reduction that undermines our economic strategy and jeopardizes our vitality for years to come,” Gov. Lynch said.

“That reduction hurt New Hampshire students and families struggling to pay tuition. Some students may not be able to afford college at all. There may be fewer spaces for New Hampshire students at our own colleges,” Mr. Lynch said. “These cuts hurt businesses trying to grow in New Hampshire and send the wrong signal to the companies we are trying to attract.

“An educated workforce is the core of our state’s successful economic-development strategy,” he said. “For our economic future, we must make it a priority to restore funding for higher education.” —Nirvi Shah

New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie (R), Jan. 17

Gov. Chris Christie’s second State of the State address featured familiar calls for education reforms that sparked battles with state lawmakers last year, and chief among them was revamping teacher evaluation and tenure.

The governor called for legislation that would allow easier replacement of underperforming teachers, regardless of seniority. He called for teachers to be evaluated according to classroom observations and growth in their students’ test scores. And he proposed that tenure be given to those who get strong ratings under such a system and taken away from those who don’t. He also recommended higher pay for teachers who teach in failing schools or high-need subject areas and assigning teachers to schools only with the consent of both teacher and principal.

The chief executive noted that the Democrat-controlled legislature recently passed—and he signed—a law allowing three low-performing districts to partner with private organizations to create charter like “Renaissance” schools. But that’s only a start, he said. Mr. Christie called for expansion of the charter school sector and tax credits for companies that contribute to scholarships for students to use to pay private-school tuition. —Catherine Gewertz

New Mexico

Gov. Susana Martinez (R), Jan. 17

Check back for coverage of the governor’s address.

New York

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), Jan. 4

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told state lawmakers that the 2010 law that ties teacher evaluation to student test scores—a major piece of the state’s winning $700 million Race to the Top plan—is not working, and he suggested it needs to be revised.

The Democrat said he would appoint a bipartisan commission to work with lawmakers on the issue, though he did not say specifically how he wants the teacher-evaluation law to be changed. The commission will address “teacher accountability,” student achievement, and school district management, he said.

“We need a meaningful teacher-evaluation system,” Mr. Cuomo said, according to a transcript of his speech. “The legislation enacted in 2010 to qualify for Race to the Top didn’t work.”

It’s unclear how changing the teacher-evaluation law would affect New York’s Race to the Top award, which it won in 2010. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has made it clear that he expects the winning states in the federal competition to stick to their promises.

The governor offered few specifics on his education agenda for 2012, though he cast himself as an agent of change on school issues. In 2011, Mr. Cuomo said, “I learned that everyone in public education has his or her own lobbyist.” He named superintendents, teachers, principals, school boards, maintenance workers, and bus drivers as having that political representation, and quipped: “Consider me the lobbyist for the students.” —Sean Cavanagh

North Carolina

Gov. Beverly Perdue (D)

At this time there is no information about the governor’s plans to give an address.

North Dakota

Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R)

At this time there is no information about the governor’s plans to give an address.


Gov. John Kasich (R), Feb. 7

With a high-performing elementary school as his backdrop, Gov. John Kasich touted his record on education so far, but offered little in the way of new policies—though he carved out time to praise a schools proposal coming out of Cleveland.

Gov. Kasich, a first-term Republican, focused mostly on job creation and other economic themes in his State of the State speech, delivered at Wells Academy in Steubenville, in the eastern part of the state. He praised academy’s use of data and its promotion of collaboration by teachers and administration in an effort to improve instruction.

He spoke of Ohio’s expansion of private school vouchers and charter schools and the introduction of Teach For America in the state. Last year, Mr. Kasich and gop lawmakers drew nationwide attention with their approval of a controversial law that would have greatly reduced the collective bargaining powers of teachers and other public employees. But voters, in a ballot proposal decided in November, soundly rejected that measure.

The governor also pledged to work with Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, a Democrat, on the mayor’s ambitious education agenda, which includes supporting charter schools, closing low-performing schools, curbing seniority-based preferences in personnel decisions, reducing the central district office’s clout, and providing successful schools with more autonomy. Some of those changes are likely to require state legislative approval.

“I’m counting on Cleveland to deliver the goods,” Mr. Kasich said. “We can change urban education in Ohio and change urban education in America. And that is worth fighting for and risking for.” —Sean Cavanagh


Gov. Mary Fallin (R), Feb. 6

Check back for coverage of the governor’s address.


Gov. John Kitzhaber (D), Jan. 13

In his annual State of the State address, Gov. John Kitzhaber commended legislators on creating the Oregon Education Investment Board, promoting more professional development for teachers, advancing more learning options for students, and establishing the Early Learning Council in order to investigate early-childhood education services in the state. He urged legislators to support a new early-learning bill that would help streamline disparate early-childhood-education programs in the state and put measures in place to evaluate their efficacy.

He also called on lawmakers to pass an education bill that would pave the way to a waiver from some provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act. Instead of a federal compliance-based system, the bill would create a system to include agreements between the state and educational institutions such as school districts, universities, and colleges, all working together on educational achievement compacts. The aim would be to reach the statewide goal of a 100 percent high school graduation rate by 2025, up from the state’s current graduation rate of 65 percent.

“We can continue the decade-long experiment with the No Child Left Behind law and its one-size-fits-all approach to school accountability, or we can adopt our own tailored approach to improve student outcomes,” Gov. Kitzhaber said. —Katie Ash


Gov. Tom Corbett (R), Feb. 7

In offering a fiscal year 2013 budget to state lawmakers, Gov. Tom Corbett proposed flat-funding K-12 education.

Since Pennsylvania governors do not give State of the State addresses, the annual budget address serves as a key signal of the chief executive’s policy priorities. Gov. Corbett’s proposed $27.1 billion fiscal 2013 spending plan, unveiled as he gave his speech, includes a mixed bag for education.

Instead of the deep cuts to K-12 education the governor sought last year, his proposal for 2013 keeps the biggest piece of the precollegiate budget, the basic education subsidy, at about the same level as last year: $5.4 billion. His plan for higher education, however, includes more pain: The state’s support of public universities would drop by as much as 30 percent.

Gov. Corbett also proposes combining the basic education funding into one block grant with several other education-related allocations and allowing local districts and counties more discretion in how they use the money. In addition, he wants to reduce the number of state-planned high school exit exams from 10 to three. —Catherine Gewertz

Rhode Island

Gov. Lincoln Chafee (I), Jan. 31

Public K-12 schools would receive some $39 million in additional aid via a 2 percent hike on taxes at restaurant meals, under a proposal unveiled by Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee in his annual budget address.

Acknowledging that the proposal would be controversial, Gov. Chafee said the extra funding would “go to the most important investments we can make: educating our young people and helping the property-taxpayer.”

The fiscal 2012 budget includes $1.15 billion in school aid. The proposed $39 million hike for fiscal 2013 would be put toward the state’s recently overhauled school funding formula and toward additional aid for needy school districts. —Stephen Sawchuk

South Carolina

Gov. Nikki Haley (R), Jan. 18

Check back for coverage of the governor’s address.

Gov.'s speech: Text | Video

South Dakota

Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), Jan. 10

In his second state budget address, Gov. Dennis Daugaard unveiled the South Dakota Investing in Teachers initiative, an investment that, if carried out, would give bonuses to all of the state’s science and mathematics teachers, as well as the top 20 percent of all teachers in each school district, based on a combination of test-score growth, classroom observation, and local school input.

The governor said he envisions the initiative as a three-year plan, beginning with an $8 million, one-time investment for training to lay the groundwork for the system during the 2013 fiscal year, $5 million in ongoing funds for bonuses of $3,500 a year for math and science teachers the following year, and then $10 million in ongoing funds the year after that for $5,000 performance-based bonuses.

“This is by far the largest investment in the teaching profession in the history of our state,” Gov. Daugaard said of the measures, which were crafted with designs on recruiting better teachers as a response to flatlining achievement scores. “Funding these bonuses is a sizable obligation, and I want to emphasize my strong commitment to fully funding these incentive payments every year.”

His budget for fiscal 2013 increases state aid for education by $40 million, to just under $370 million, nearly restoring it to fiscal 2011 levels after all state agencies without mandated federal funding levels saw spending cut by at least 10 percent in fiscal 2012, including education. The boost represents an 11.9 percent funding increase. —Ian Quillen


Gov. Bill Haslam (R)

At this time there is no information about the governor’s plans to give an address.


Gov. Rick Perry (R)

At this time there is no information about the governor’s plans to give an address.


Gov. Gary Herbert (R), Jan. 25

Gov. Gary R. Herbert told lawmakers his “top legislative priority” is to “fund the growth and continued innovation in our education system.” In his State of the State address, the governor highlighted plans to increase state aid to public schools by $111 million in fiscal 2013, raising it above this year’s $2.5 billion for K-12 and including a “modest, but well-deserved pay increase for our teachers” of 1 percent.

In addition, he cited recent actions to expand early-intervention programs for students deemed at risk, and said the state was also expanding a Web portal that provides all those in Utah with online career counseling “to ensure the education they receive today will get them a job tomorrow.” —Erik W. Robelen


Gov. Peter Shumlin (D), Jan. 5

Gov. Peter Shumlin, recently featured in a Rolling Stone article about leaders who get things done, told Vermont residents he will pursue improvements in education with the same vigor with which he took on recovery efforts after Hurricane Irene last August.

“If we can reopen hundreds of flooded businesses in 14 weeks, we can transform Vermont into the innovative education leader, where from early childhood to higher education to continuing education, we train employees for the prosperous jobs of our future,” Gov. Shumlin said.

In a budget address, he proposed new state spending on higher education and dual enrollment, which he sees as investments aimed at making Vermont students more competitive and creating opportunities for employers to recruit better employees. —Nirvi Shah


Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), Jan. 11

Gov. Robert F. McDonnell gave K-12 education a high profile in his State of the State address, asking the Virginia legislature to pare back job protections for teachers and principals and take steps to ensure that 3rd and 4th graders read proficiently before being promoted to the next grade.

The governor wants to replace “continuing contracts” for teachers and principals with annual job contracts. He wants to require school districts to provide reading help for3rd and 4th graders who fall short of state reading-proficiency scores.

Gov. McDonnell also proposes the repeal of a state law that prohibits districts from starting the school year before Labor Day, and the consolidation of seven types of high school diplomas into three. He recommends giving businesses tax credits for supporting scholarship funds for low-income students who want to attend private schools. —Catherine Gewertz


Gov. Christine Gregoire (D), Jan. 10

During her annual address to lawmakers, Gov. Christine Gregoire urged them to approve a temporary, three-year, half-cent increase in Washington’s sales tax that would largely benefit education. Of the projected $494 million in additional revenue, $411 million would go toward K-12 and higher education.

The governor also called on the legislature to approve a series of school initiatives she laid out in December, including a new teacher- and principal-evaluation system; an effort that would pair universities with struggling schools for research and innovation opportunities; a reduction in requirements for students and administrators in order to devote more time to instruction; and the creation of an executive-level “office of student achievement” that would focus on helping students achieve higher levels of education.

“If we implement these innovative reforms and if we use our can-do spirit, we can give our children the best education in the United States,” Gov. Gregoire said. —Katie Ash

West Virginia

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin (D), Jan. 11

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, in his first State of the State speech, said he planned to introduce legislation that would tie student achievement to teacher evaluations—expanding a pilot program, as well as introduce another bill that would create a pilot to improve struggling West Virginia schools. The latter would allow local administrators and educators the flexibility to draw well-qualified teachers into schools to improve student achievement.

In addition, the governor devoted several minutes to a recent audit of the state’s education department, which found ways to save about $90 million a year. The K-12 budget is about $2 billion, in an overall state budget of about $4 billion. The audit recommendations include using technology to help rural districts, giving local school boards more authority, and improving teacher evaluations.

Gov. Tomblin explicitly thanked American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten for her work on the effort, which involves a public-private partnership and 40 organizations. —Nirvi Shah


Gov. Scott Walker (R), Jan. 25

Gov. Scott Walker, who sparked a political backlash last year with his successful effort to curb Wisconsin teachers’ collective bargaining powers, outlined an education vision in his State of the State address that focused on increasing accountability, implementing a “more rigorous licensure exam” for elementary educators, and targeting new interventions to help elementary students learn to read.

“Every school that receives public funds ... will be rated by a fair, objective, and transparent system,” the Republican declared, saying the effort was based on the work of a bipartisan task force. One dimension of the new reading initiative, the governor said, is to have screeners “assess every child entering kindergarten so that our teachers know the reading levels of each of their students and can put together plans to get kids reading at grade level.”

The speech was delivered about a week after the governor’s political opponents signaled that they had turned in more than 1 million signatures to advance a recall election that could remove him from office. —Erik W. Robelen


Gov. Matt Mead (R), Feb. 13

In his annual speech kicking off the Wyoming legislature’s budget session, Gov. Matt Mead mounted a defense of his state’s adoption of the common-core standards in June 2010.

“Now is the time, without regard to what the federal government may want us to do, or not want us to do, for us to step up, refuse to be left behind, and to accept common-core standards as determined by Wyoming citizens. We are not by doing this signing on to federal curricula. ... If the federal government tries to steer us in a direction we don’t want to go, we can simply refuse.”

Gov. Mead also referenced the need for educational accountability. A joint education committee has been pushing the legislature to adopt a bill revamping the state’s assessment and school rating system. “We need accountability in our schools, accountability in our parents,” he said. “And with every decision, all of us should make it known that mediocrity is not acceptable.”–Stephen Sawchuk

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