Education Week - January 28, 2015 - (Page 20)

STATE of the STATES Here are summaries of recent annual addresses by governors around the country. ALASKA GOV. BILL WALKER (I) * JAN. 21 In his first State of the State address, Gov. Walker began his discussion on education by reminding Alaskans that the state is facing one of its biggest budget deficits. Although he vowed to protect education funding as best he could, Mr. Walker also underscored that falling oil prices will force the energy-dependent state to tighten its belt. Beyond that, the governor did not outline any concrete education initiatives, but discussed the need to increase career and technical education opportunities and to train young people for the jobs of tomorrow: "We do that by being creative, [by] parents stepping up and teachers and administrators thinking outside the box," he said. COLORADO GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D) * JAN. 15 In his address, Gov. Hickenlooper outlined a recommendation for providing $200 million in one-time funding for local districts to use at their own discretion. To support its education system, "Colorado must also become the best state in the country to recruit, retain, and grow great teachers," he said, pointing to licensure reforms, career ladders, and a "fair evaluation system" as ways to achieve that goal. Gov. Hickenlooper said he looked -ARIANNA PROTHERO forward to the recommendations of a task force assembled to propose changes to the state's student assessment systems. "Easing the testing demands on 12th graders in social studies and science, and streamlining tests in early years and finding flexibility with approaches to social studies might be among the right answers," he said. DELAWARE GOV. JACK MARKELL (D) * JAN. 22 In his seventh State of the State address, Gov. Markell proposed a lofty education goal he is calling the Delaware Promise: "By 2025, 65 percent of our workforce will earn a college degree or professional certificate. Everyone will earn at least a high school diploma." -EVIE BLAD He also announced a partnership among employers, universities, and K-12 schools that will provide specialized career training for high school students. The Pathways to Prosperity initiative will allow students to earn college credits and certificates from industry partners, including those in information technology, hospitality, financial services, and health care. In addition, the governor said he will create a school funding task force to make recommendations "that would spur more innovation in our schools and address inequities for our neediest students." Gov. Markell also pointed to a new teachercompensation plan he helped push forward, saying: "We'll raise starting salaries and allow educators to earn more by taking on leadership responsibilities while remaining in the classroom." KANSAS GOV. SAM BROWNBACK (R) * JAN. 15 Calling K-12 education one of "the major drivers in state spending increases," Gov. Brownback called for a new funding formula for the Sunflower State's schools. "For decades now, Kansas has struggled under a school finance formula which is designed not to be understood-to frustrate efforts at accountability and efficiency," he said. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval acknowledges a guest in the gallery during his State of the State address at the Capitol in Carson City on Jan. 15. Nevada Eyes Tax Hike for Schools Nevada Governor Brian E. Sandoval proposed raising taxes to support a sweeping set of education initiatives he said will modernize the state's lagging K-12 school system. Gov. Sandoval's proposals, which were laid out in his State of the State address this month, will cost an estimated $430 million over the next two years. He proposed changing some business license fees and using the proceeds to pay for the education programs. The governor also proposed making some temporary taxes permanent. The Republican governor's ambitious K-12 plans touch every aspect of the school system, from expanding pre-K, reforming collective bargaining, overhauling the way the state funds its schools, and continuing tax credits for businesses that give scholarships to allow at-risk students to attend private schools. The plans include: $20 million in matching funds to encourage successful charter schools to expand; $36 million in grants to social workers as part of an anti-bullying effort; around $30 million to support literacy programs; nearly $50 million to put a digital device in the hands of every middle school student and expand technology programs; and more than $20 million for the expansion of stem and career and technical education in high schools. He also proposed $50 million to help students in the state's impoverished schools. The governor plans to create an achievement school district that will take over and run the state's persistently failing schools, which comprise about 10 percent of the state's schools. Former Washoe County Superintendent Pedro Martinez will become the superintendent-in-residence in the state education department and will head up the effort. Gov. Sandoval also wants to change state law to allow school board members to be appointed and to audit the state's countywide school district system to determine whether it is the most efficient. -DENISA R. SUPERVILLE Gov. Brownback urged the legislature to repeal the state's current formula and appropriate money directly to districts during the next two-year budget cycle while it drafts a new funding plan. In December, a district court ruled that Kansas' school funding system is "inadequate from any rational perspective." The state also has a projected $278 million budget shortfall for fiscal 2015. MICHIGAN GOV. RICK SNYDER (R) * JAN. 20 In his speech to state lawmakers, Gov. Snyder said it is his goal to eliminate barriers that keep state residents from taking advantage of the "river of opportunity." One of those barriers, he said, is the inability to read proficiently by 3rd grade. The governor said he plans to introduce legislation that will support students in the early grades, and will also ask for a commission to develop further recommendations the state can adopt to help young readers. Currently, 70 percent of the state's children reach the 3rd grade reading benchmark, he said. In addition, the governor said that he wants to tackle the "uncoordinated educational environment" in Detroit, which currently has charter schools with dozens of different authorizers, schools that are managed by the local district, and low-performing schools that are overseen by the state's Education Achievement Authority. "Before the first half of the year, I hope to call for legislation to bring more structure 20 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 28, 2015 | -EVIE BLAD and more thoughtfulness to deal with these challenged situations," Mr. Snyder said. He is required to present a budget proposal to state lawmakers by mid-February. -CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS MISSOURI GOV. JAY NIXON (D) * JAN. 21 -LIANA HEITIN Calling education "the best economic development tool we have," the governor said his proposed budget would increase public education funding by $150 million to allow for more technology in classrooms, smaller class sizes, more hands-on learning, and higher teacher pay. If his budget is approved, it would amount to a record allocation for K-12 schools. Mr. Nixon also recommended start-up grants to expand Project Lead the Way to 350 more elementary schools. Currently, 34 elementary schools offer these programs. The nonprofit provides K-12 programs for teaching science, technology, engineering, and math. To boost kindergarten readiness, the governor proposed awarding $11 million in the form of grants to public and private preschools to serve disadvantaged 3- to 5-year-olds. In the wake of statewide and national protests over a grand jury's decision not to indict a white police officer who shot and killed African-American teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson last year, the governor said Ferguson's legacy will be determined by what is done next "to foster healing and hope." One of his recommended remedies: to "strengthen failing schools." Tiffany Anderson, the superintendent of the 2,500-student Jennings school district which neighbors Ferguson, and a 2015 Education Week Leader to Learn From, attended the speech and received accolades from the governor. Despite high poverty in the district, her students "have made big leaps forward over the past several years with higher test scores and higher graduation rates." -MICHELE MOLNAR NEBRASKA GOV. PETE RICKETTS (R) * JAN. 22 In his inaugural State of the State speech, Gov. Ricketts laid out a two-year budget plan that would increase state aid to schools by 3 percent during the 201516 school year and 1.6 percent during the 2016-17 school year. "As we seek to create jobs, slow the growth of government, reduce taxes, and fight burdensome regulations, we must also continue to strengthen our education system," Mr. Ricketts said. "As we balance our budget, we must ensure we put a priority on proper school funding and improving educational outcomes." He said his budget would provide a 3 percent increase in funding for the University of Nebraska, the state colleges, and the community colleges. He also proposed a $250,000 a year pilot program, that would fund a public-private partnership to create new career- and vocational-training programs. NEW MEXICO GOV. SUSANA MARTINEZ (R) * JAN. 20 Gov. Martinez called on state lawmakers to raise starting teacher salaries by an additional $2,000 per year, provide every teacher with a $100 debit card each year to purchase classroom supplies, and offer two-LAUREN CAMERA Lance Iversen/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 28, 2015

Education Week - January 28, 2015
Activists Learn Art of ‘Test Refusal’
Ed. School Deans Join Forces To Bolster Teacher Preparation
N.C. District Rebounds From Ed-Tech Meltdown
Poverty Data Signal Urgency for Schools
Report Roundup
News in Brief
Chicago’s Closures Drove Most to Higher-Rated Schools
More Districts Expected to Follow Boston on Longer Days
International Study Ranks Schools on Social Stress, Equity
Blogs of the Week
No Firm Direction on Testing Set At Senate Panel’s ESEA Hearing
As Job Description Grows, So Does Churn for State Chiefs
K-12 Issues Given Short Shrift in State of the Union Address
State of the States
Blogs of the Week
SUSAN H. FUHRMAN: Measurement Alone Cannot Propel Improvement
SAMINA HADI-TABASSUM: Too Much Discipline Hurts Majority-Minority Schools
GARRISON WALTERS: Dump Management ‘Science,’ And Change Learning Attitudes
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment

Education Week - January 28, 2015