Education Week - February 10, 2016 - (Page 16)
STATE of the STATES
Here are summaries of recent
annual addresses by governors
around the country.
governor's office would cut $52.9 million from the
$1.8 billion that had been allotted to the education
department. About $3.6 million would be pared
from the state's $116 million budget for the earlychildhood office.
CHRISTINA A. SAMUELS
GOV. ROBERT BENTLEY (R) * FEB. 2
Danny Harris, the chief information officer for the U.S. Department of
Education, testifies on Capitol Hill over an Inspector General's report that
looked into his personal business and tax issues.
Ed. Dept. CIO Grilled
By Oversight Panel
Allegations involve taxes, conflict of interest
Lawmakers on the House Government and Oversight Committee are
probing tax and conflict of interest
allegations against the U.S. Department of Education's chief information officer-and that could create
headaches for acting U.S. Secretary
of Education John B. King Jr., who
was called to testify in Congress on
the issue last week.
Danny Harris, the department's
CIO, ran a side business installing
home theaters and detailing cars,
according to the Associated Press.
He didn't report about $10,000
in income from that business in
public disclosure forms, or on his
taxes. And he made a $4,000 loan
to one of his subordinates and allegedly helped a relative get a job
at the department, according to the
Education Department's Inspector
Harris was asked about those issues
by lawmakers on the House oversight
committee Feb. 2, and after the hearing concluded, he collapsed and was
taken to the hospital for a time.
Harris is a part of a team that
oversees cybersecurity at the department, an issue that the House
oversight panel looked into in November. The committee found that
while the department holds 139
million Social Security numbers, it
is "vulnerable to security threats,"
according to an Inspector General's
report. The department's system
also failed a key part of a test performed as part of an audit.
Harris-who is a career civil servant, not an Obama administration
appointee-was investigated for the
tax issues by the IG a few years ago,
he told the committee, according to
In written testimony, Harris also
said he didn't help a relative get a job
at the department, just inquired to
see if there were positions available.
He also said he didn't use his influence to get a friend a contracting position. And he's refiled his tax forms.
Harris has been counseled by the
department about his actions, but
isn't expected to receive further punishment.
King said in prepared testimony
that Harris' actions reflect "a serious
lack of judgment." And even though
King's predecessors had already
taken action, King also talked to
Harris about these "serious matters."
Harris, he said, "expressed profound
remorse" for his actions.
But that didn't fly with some lawmakers.
"It's your leadership that's on the
line. Is it appropriate to have outside income and not report it?" Rep.
Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, the chairman of the committee, asked King.
And at least one Democrat wasn't
satisfied with King's answers.
"Where's the stick as opposed to
just the pat? How do people know
that they can't be involved in this
behavior?" asked Democrat Stacey
Plaskett, the delegate from the Virgin Islands. "That's just a way to
keep your job."
In response, King noted, "after
the counseling, the activities ended"
and that the department's general
counsel's office had found no violation of law, regulation, or policy. He
also said the department has "made
tremendous progress" in the area of
King is also facing challenges in
other corners of Congress-Sen.
Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., is unhappy that he hasn't been officially
confirmed. King has said it's up to the
president to decide whether to submit his nomination to the U.S. Senate. And he has noted that an acting
secretary has all the same powers as
one that's been confirmed.
Assistant Editor Alyson Klein
contributed to this article.
16 | EDUCATION WEEK | February 10, 2016 | www.edweek.org
GOV. JACK MARKELL (D) * JAN. 21
The governor pitched lawmakers on a new
Alabama Future Ready Scholarship program
to improve postsecondary preparation in the
The program, which would begin first in
Alabama's neediest communities, would
connect 7th graders with an "education adviser"
charged with coaching the student through
high school graduation and the transition to
Students would receive help from local
community colleges, including tutoring, visits to
college campuses, and financial planning. Those
who complete the program would get two years
of free community college.
"The results will be a well-trained, welleducated new generation of Alabamians,"
The governor is also pushing to expand the
state's First Class preschool program. Ideally,
over the next three years, Bentley would like
to give every interested parent the chance to
enroll his or her 4-year-old in the program.
"Children who attend pre-K are more likely
to read at grade level quicker, their math scores
are higher, and they are less likely to need
special education services," Bentley said. "We
know this program works, we've seen
the statistics, but more importantly, we've seen
the results in the lives of our students."
In his eighth and final State of the State
address, the governor lauded the growth in
Delaware's high school graduation rates, which
he said represents the largest increase in the
country. Graduation rates have reached an alltime high nationally, at 82 percent, and federal
data show that Delaware's four-year adjusted
cohort graduation rate is at 87 percent, up from
80 percent the year prior.
More high school students than ever are now
taking computer science courses, participating
in Advanced Placement programs, and
attending college classes, Markell said in the
speech. And over the past two years, he said,
"all of Delaware's college-ready students have
applied and been accepted to college. Virtually
all have enrolled. Previously, as many as 1 in 5
The governor gave much of the credit for
those accomplishments to Delaware's teachers,
whom he vowed to continue to support by
working to raise their salaries, pilot teacherleadership programs, and provide stipends for
those with national-board certification.
"One of the best things we can do to ensure
the prosperity of the generation to follow is to
ensure our children have great teachers today,"
GOV. BRUCE RAUNER (R) * JAN. 27
GOV. BILL WALKER (I) * JAN. 21
In his annual address to legislators, the
governor touched on education at the end,
saying that falling oil prices continue to affect
education spending. Alaska's department of
education had to cut its budget by a third last
year, and Walker is proposing the state's first
income tax in 35 years.
"Even in these challenging times, Alaska's
students are a source of optimism and
confidence," Walker said in his address. "Their
enthusiasm for tomorrow is not diminished by
today's oil prices. State education leaders are
developing a sustainable plan for Alaska's public
education system based on input from Alaskans
Beyond that, Walker said his three priorities
for improving academic achievement in the
state are strengthening local control, securing
high-quality educators, and modernizing the
state's education system.
GOV. DANNEL P. MALLOY (D) * FEB. 3
The state has to face "new economic realities,"
and that means making budget reductions to reflect
lower revenue projections, the governor told state
legislators as he introduced a budget aimed at
closing a $570 million deficit.
"Families and businesses do not set their budgets
based on the amount of money they want to have
next year. Neither can the state of Connecticut,"
Malloy said. "This budget is based not on how much
we want to spend, but how much money we actually
have to spend."
The proposed state budget adjustment from the
Education was a significant piece of the
governor's annual address to legislators, in
which he outlined 10 long-term goals including
expanding school choice for children
attending academically struggling schools,
building a "comprehensive, consistent, objective
student-growth measure not necessarily
based on the [Partnership for Assessment of
Readiness for College and Careers] exam," and
growing the state's early-childhood education
To better assure what he called "a highquality, fully integrated education system,"
Rauner said " we are committed to eliminating
wasteful bureaucracy, putting more money
into our classrooms, freeing up our teachers to
teach, and holding our schools truly accountable
He didn't give much detail on the initiatives,
however, or any budget specifics.
Last month, Rauner and several Republican
legislators proposed a bill that would allow the
state to take over the financially struggling
Chicago school system. Most notably, the bill
would allow the district to declare bankruptcy
and establish that the state would not be liable
for the school district's debt.
DAAREL BURNETTE II
GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R) * FEB. 3
In his second State of the State speech, the
governor praised his state's fiscal health, but
gave little attention to K-12 issues-devoting
less than a minute of his 25-minute address to
Hogan congratulated lawmakers on funding
the K-12 system at historic levels by adding
$830 million to the precollegiate budget, and
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - February 10, 2016
Education Week - February 10, 2016
Federal Trade Regulators Target Brain-Training Product Claims
In States Hungry for Teachers, Policy Menu Expands
PARCC Scores Lower On Computer Exams
Equipping Parents on Spec. Ed.
News in Brief
In Chicago, Schools’ Financial Crisis Deepens Divisions
Advocates’ Report Hits States For Overtesting, Other Policies
Blogs of the Week
Digital Directions: Partnership Boosts Data Privacy
Kindergarten: Less Play, More Academics (infographic
‘Proficiency’ Bars on State Tests Are Seen Heading Upward
Views Clash On K-12 Law Rulemaking
Blogs of the Week
Ed. Dept. CIO Grilled By Oversight Panel
State of the States
I’m Tired of ‘Grit’
Why Small Steps Are Better for Small Schools
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
In Low-Income Schools, Teachers Need Guidance
Education Week - February 10, 2016