Education Week - January 29, 2014 - (Page 16)

STATE of the STATES Here are summaries of recent annual addresses by governors around the country. ALABAMA GOV. ROBERT J. BENTLEY (R) * JAN. 14 Gov. Bentley placed education at the center of the state's economic-development push in his annual State of the State address, announcing plans to bolster the voice of businesses in helping students become ready for college and careers. He said he plans to present legislation that would create a Statewide Workforce Council, comprised of business and industry leaders who could advise schools and colleges on workforce needs. He wants to increase career coaches in schools and expand dual-enrollment programs so that students can take courses at a two-yearcollege while earning their high school diploma. He'd also like to place greater emphasis on "teaching essential skills." "Once implemented, this program will improve high school graduation rates and increase the number of higher-skilled workers," Mr. Bentley said in his Jan. 14 address. The governor touted the state's prekindergarten initiative, which he said has helped close the achievement gap between lower-income students and their more advantaged peers by as much as 29 percent. He said he'll be asking for more money for voluntary prekindergarten in his budget. Mr. Bentley also said he wants to boost teacher salaries. Alabama educators got a 2 percent pay bump last year, and the governor would like to see them receive the same increase this year. CALIFORNIA GOV. JERRY BROWN (D) * JAN. 22 Gov. Brown in his address to lawmakers praised the state's local-control funding formula, passed last year, as a new way for schools and teachers to exercise control over instruction. The state board of education adopted new regulations on Jan. 16 governing the formula, which directs more resources to low-income and other needy students while also raising overall state K-12 funding. In his speech, Gov. Brown said the formula would be a boon for both effective governance and much-needed local flexibility: "There is no way the state can micromanage teaching and learning." He said that implementing the formula, in conjunction with the Common Core State Standards in English/language arts and math, would be difficult, but he expressed confidence that schools and teachers were up to the job. -ANDREW UJIFUSA DELAWARE GOV. JACK MARKELL (D) * JAN. 23 Gov. Markell is urging Delaware lawmakers to ease rigid education funding formulas in order to give school leaders the ability to implement their own school improvement plans. "We should track their choices, measure the -ALYSON KLEIN results, and see how we can best provide greater flexibility to more schools," he said in his State of the State speech. The governor also announced a two-year program in electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering for 11th and 12th grade students, to roll out in the fall. He also proposed a scholarship program that would allow lowincome high school students to take creditbearing college courses. As for teachers, the governor said he is "particularly focused" on supporting science, technology, engineering, and math educators. He also is working with the Delaware State Education Association "on an improved approach to educator compensation," he said, and hopes to introduce legislation in the spring. -LIANA HEITIN HAWAII GOV. NEIL ABERCROMBIE (D) * JAN. 21 In his annual address to lawmakers, Gov. Neil Abercrombie emphasized the importance of early-childhood education, praising legislators' support of the state's Preschool Open Doors program but urging them to do even more to support young learners. " On the campaign trail, I'll bet almost all of us made a promise to invest in our students and our schools. ... It's time to put our budgets where our campaign brochures are." MISSOURI GOV. JAY NIXON Needy Students, Tech Disparities At Issue in S.C. By Andrew Ujifusa In a closely watched speech to state lawmakers in what is expected to be a heated election year, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said she plans to direct more resources to the state's "neediest children" and to make a push to improve the technology in public schools. In her Jan. 22 State of the State speech, the Republican governor cited National Assessment of Educational Progress data to illustrate the state's relatively low ranking (42nd) when it comes to 4th graders' ability to read at a "basic level." She said that each elementary school in South Carolina will be offered a reading coach to ensure reading proficiency by the 3rd grade. Gov. Haley also said the state will spend more money on "summer reading camps" to ensure that students don't regress when they're not in school. No Common-Core Mention However, the governor, who is eligible for re-election this year, did not discuss in her speech one of the most controversial K-12 policies in the state, the Common Core State Standards. In remarks to a local Republican Party club earlier this month, Gov. Haley pledged that the state would drop the controversial standards in English/language arts and mathematics. But she did not repeat the promise to her audience last week. Some foes of the common core in South Carolina have expressed concern that the standards are a vehicle for greater federal intrusion into education in the state. A state Senate bill that would repeal the standards is under consideration. Helping Poor Students In her speech, Gov. Haley focused on the educational needs of less-wealthy students. She cited research that showed that teaching "low-income students" costs $1,200 more per student. The governor said school districts will receive 20 percent more in state funding for every enrolled student that falls below the "poverty index." (The state education department uses an index that tracks data regarding free and reduced-price lunch and Medicaid eligibility in schools.) "We looked at the way we fund education at the state level," Gov. Haley said. "We found our formula to be outdated and misguided, and that as a result we are not doing the best job of directing dollars to the areas that need them most." Gov. Haley also cited the dearth of technology in many of South Carolina's public schools, saying that schools' access to iPads and widescreen TVs was "based on geography, not on generational advancement," which she called "wrong" and "immoral." She pledged to increase the state's investment to improve school Internet access and provide more computers and tablets. Several of her plans, Gov. Haley stressed, were developed after meeting with a variety of officials, such as former state superintendents and a bipartisan group of legislators, as well as teachers and parents. Regarding teachers specifically, she said that past debates had "damaged their confidence" and that in the future teachers would require greater support and training, but Gov. Haley didn't outline proposals on that front. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley told lawmakers in her Jan. 22 State of the State address that she would target state aid to help low-income students and boost school technology. 16 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 29, 2014 | Rainier Ehrhardt/AP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 29, 2014

Education Week - January 29, 2014
Ruling Raises Internet-Access Concerns
Cheating Case Implicates Phila. Educators
Graduation Disparities Loom Large
Business Groups Defend Common Standards
Report Roundup
News in Brief
Common Science Standards Are Slow to Catch On in States
Surge in Charter Schools Stirs Concerns in North Carolina
Blogs of the Week
Turnaround Program Receives Makeover In Budget Deal
Some Waiver States Feeling Common-Core Test Pinch
Needy Students, Tech Disparities at Issue
Blogs of the Week
Advocates Welcome New Federal Aid Aimed at Youngest
Collective-Bargaining Case Takes Spotlight at High Court
ANNA E. BARGAGLIOTTI: Statistics: The New ‘It’ Common-Core Subject
BEN ZIMMER & DANIELLA ROHR: Funding Students, Not Bureaucracies, For Early-Childhood Education
CLARKE L. RUBEL: Talking About a Reformation
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
LYNETTE TANNIS: Twice Punished: Education’s ‘Invisible’ Incarcerated Youths

Education Week - January 29, 2014