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State of the States 2011: Connecticut, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma

February 22, 2011 3 min read
North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue delivers her State of the State address before a joint session of the legislature in the House chamber in Raleigh last week. The governor said she would offer a two-year budget proposal that would pay for every current state-funded position in public school classrooms, while reducing corporate tax rates to make them the lowest in the Southeast.
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For complete coverage of this year’s governors’ speeches, check out State of the States 2011.

CONNECTICUT

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy (D) • Jan. 16

In a budget address that said the state is “staring down the barrel of a deficit of over $3.2 billion next year” and $3 billion the year after, the new governor told lawmakers that he was nevertheless planning additional spending on early-childhood education.

“It is dismaying to all of us that Connecticut has the largest achievement gap of any state in the nation,” Gov. Malloy said. One of the ways to close that gap, he said, is to give every child access to prekindergarten.

Gov. Malloy said his budget would provide a “down payment” on that promise by providing $5.7 million over two years. The state also plans to use $4.1 million from private philanthropic sources for early-childhood programs. The budget maintains the current level of state education aid, about $3.3 billion. —Christina A. Samuels

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Gov. John Lynch (D) • Feb. 15

State of the States

BRIC ARCHIVE

Education is feeling the pinch as state budgets tighten nationwide. Read what the governors plan for education funding and reform in 2011 in our State of the State and budget address roundups. Read more.

While government agencies other than education will face cuts, four-term incumbent Gov. Lynch offered a spending plan that keeps school funding for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 at the same level as in 2011, about $941 million, although the state won’t have federal economic-stimulus money to help.

The proposal also offers $1 million in competitive grants for district projects that increase efficiency and expand opportunities for students. Gov. Lynch said in his biennial budget address that his spending proposal “protects our state’s strategy for success, keeping taxes low and making smart investments in education, health care, public safety, and economic development.” —Nirvi Shah

NORTH CAROLINA

Beverly Perdue (D) • Feb. 14.

While her budget proposal pledges to eliminate a total of 10,000 state positions between layoffs and targeted agency cuts, Gov. Perdue said none of those would be state-backed teaching positions.

“The budget I submit to you will fund every current state-supported teacher and teaching assistant position,” Gov. Perdue said. “We will demand that all teachers and administrators meet our standards of excellence or we will replace them. Now is not the time to let our children fall behind.”

The proposed budget, released three days after her State of the State speech, includes a proposed $7.6 billion in general funding for K-12 education in fiscal years 2012 and 2013, a small increase from the $7.4 billion approved in fiscal 2010-11.

The governor also proposed creating a state Career and College Promise program with existing education money that would pay for a two-year college degree or two years of career training for students who met academic criteria. —Ian Quillen

OKLAHOMA

Gov. Mary Fallin (R) • Feb. 7

In her inaugural State of the State address, Gov. Fallin, the first woman to become governor of Oklahoma, recognized the need for improvement in the state’s education system and outlined several steps to that end.

To inspire innovation in the K-12 sector, Gov. Fallin is working with state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi to scrape together money for a new public-private partnership that will match state dollars to investments from private companies to pay for learning initiatives that could increase student achievement. The governor has also asked the legislature to eliminate a process she said made it difficult to fire underperforming educators.

Social promotion, or allowing students to proceed to the next grade level because of their age instead of their academic performance, should be eliminated, said Gov. Fallin. She also proposed looking into potential cost-saving changes, such as a transition to digital textbooks, and she expressed a need for a better data-tracking system to determine which education initiatives do and do not work. — Katie Ash

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A version of this article appeared in the February 23, 2011 edition of Education Week as State of the States

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