Education Week - February 18, 2015 - (Page 18)
STATE of the STATES www.edweek.org/go/sos
Here are summaries of recent annual
addresses by governors around the
GOV. BRUCE RAUNER (R) * FEB. 4
Calling education "the most important
thing we do together as a community,"
Gov. Rauner pledged in his State of the
State speech to lift the state's cap on charter
schools while cutting back K-12 bureaucracy
that he said inhibits good teaching.
Gov. Rauner, who defeated Democratic
incumbent Pat Quinn in 2014, also cited
his campaign pledge to increase education
funding as one he intended to keep.
"Too many students are trapped in failing
schools or schools that are not a good fit for
them," he said in his prepared remarks. "We
can give them better. We must give them
better." He also said that employees should
have "the freedom to choose whether or not
they want to join a union," and that local
voters should also have control over local
GOV. PAUL R. LePAGE (R) * FEB.3
Gov. LePage did not mention education,
either K-12 or college, in a speech dedicated
primarily to pitching a major reduction
in the state income tax, but he did call for
the state to focus on preventing domestic
violence, particularly against children.
The governor proposed cutting the income
tax on those in the highest bracket from
7.95 percent to 5.75 percent and replacing
it with sales taxes. "A young married couple,
both teachers with one child, claiming a
standard deduction, would get a $1,500 pay
raise," Gov. LePage said. "That's a mortgage
payment. That's a few tanks of heating oil.
It's several car payments or back-to-school
clothes for the kids. It's real money."
He also urged the state to begin work to
reduce domestic violence. Of the 21 murders
committed in Maine in 2014, he noted,
14 were related to domestic violence, and
eight of the victims were children under 13.
Gov. LePage did not, however, lay out
specific initiatives or new money to address
LARRY HOGAN (R) * FEB. 4
In his first State of the State address,
Maryland's new governor staked out a
new and more modest approach to K-12
education spending and challenged the
legislature to approve the expansion of
more charter schools.
The Republican chief executive has
angered Democrats and the state's biggest
teachers' union by proposing a $16.4 billion
spending plan for fiscal 2016 that channels
$144 million less to counties than they got
in the current year's budget. The proposal
calls for $6.1 billion in aid to public schools,
an increase of $45.3 million.
But in his 20-minute speech to the
legislature, Gov. Hogan said that the plan
represents a "record investment in K-12,"
and noted that it includes $290 million for
school construction. His aides have also
pointed out that the proposed budget fully
funds the state's pension obligations.
Gov. Hogan said that the state had been
TENNESSEE: Gov. Bill
Haslam, front, set out his
agenda for education and
other state priorities to
state lawmakers in his
Feb. 9 State of the State
speech in Nashville.
Among other initiatives,
he outlined plans for
teacher raises and
poised for a $700 million budget shortfall,
but that he and his team "revised the
script" and delivered a budget that "only
spends what we take in." He added: "This is
just common sense."
The governor said that he will soon offer
legislation that would allow more charter
schools to open and that would provide tax
credits to people who make contributions to
private and parochial schools.
GOV. PAT McCRORY (R) * FEB. 4
In his annual address to lawmakers,
Gov. McCrory laid out ambitious plans
to raise teacher pay, reduce testing, and
expedite teacher certification. He touched
on his own student-teaching experience to
make an argument for increasing teachers'
base salary to $35,000 a year.
"As a 20-year-old student-teacher ... I
thought I had the perfect lesson plan for my
first day of teaching," he said. "But I ran out
of material after 10 minutes. ... Teaching is
The governor said the current
-SARAH D. SPARKS
teacher certification is an unnecessarily
bureaucratic process. He pointed to a
teacher who had been trained through
Teach For America, an alternativepreparation
program, and had a master's
degree in education yet was still required to
take 18 months of courses before receiving
his North Carolina certification. "We want,
and should be encouraging, accomplished
people who want to join the teaching
profession," he said.
The governor also said his administration
is working "to distinguish which tests
improve a student's performance and which
tests simply waste time," and plans to
"eliminate unneeded testing by next year."
GOV. MARY FALLIN (R) * FEB. 2
Gov. Fallin focused much of her State
of the State speech on the importance of
graduating students with skills to keep the
Sooner State competitive.
She said that Oklahoma's workforce is
not meeting the education levels needed
to sustain job growth. Only 31 percent of
working Oklahomans have a workforce
credential or associate degree, she added,
18 | EDUCATION WEEK | February 18, 2015 | www.edweek.org
and only 24 percent have a bachelor's
degree or higher.
"If we don't address that skills gap, those
jobs will go elsewhere," the governor said.
To build a better workforce, she said,
the state should raise academic standards
and strengthen partnerships between
businesses and schools so students can
dual-track their education and work skills.
Gov. Fallin also talked about the state's
new budgeting system, OkStateStat, which
ties spending to measurable outcomes.
She said that in the education arena,
her administration will be using it to
increase the number of college degrees and
credentials related to the state's top five
industries; reduce remediation rates for
incoming college freshmen from 40 percent
to 30 percent by 2025; and increase to
75 percent the number of 4th graders
scoring proficient or above on state reading
tests by 2018.
GOV. BILL HASLAM (R) * FEB. 9
Building on the state's significant K-12
and higher education investments in the
past several years, Gov. Haslam called
for more than $97 million in new money
for teacher raises and money to expand
several programs under the state's "Drive
to 55" initiative to raise the percentage of
Tennesseeans with a certificate or college
degree from 32 percent to 55 percent by
The governor's fiscal 2016 budget
proposal includes $170 million more for
K-12 funding, including a $44 million
increase in the basic education fund and
teacher pay raises equal to 4 percent on
average. In addition, the governor proposed
$5 million to create a trust to offer teachers
free liability insurance.
Gov. Haslam also announced several
initiatives to build on the 2014 Tennessee
Promise scholarships, which provide two
years of college tuition to any graduating
senior, including: $2.5 million to improve
high school remediation for students who
otherwise would have to take noncredit
courses in college, and $400,000 for a
program to help first-generation collegegoers
adapt to campus life. He also
announced a $1.5 million pilot that would
allow adults with some college credits but
no degree to attend any state technical
college for free.
The Volunteer State has been backing off
somewhat from long-term support of the
Common Core State Standards in the last
year, and Gov. Haslam urged residents to
look at the standards on the state's website,
where more than 82,000 comments have
already been submitted.
"I expect that we're going to talk about
state standards this session, and I think
it is important that we know exactly what
the standards are that we're talking about
and possibly voting on," he said. "To me,
it doesn't really matter what we call our
standards. What does matter is that we
have the highest standards possible."
SCOTT WALKER (R) * JAN. 13
In a statehouse speech with national
overtones, Gov. Walker called for
lawmakers to expand school choice and
approve legislation "making it crystal
clear" to local school districts that they are
not required to follow the Common Core
The governor, who was re-elected to a
second term last fall and is considered
a likely contender for the Republican
presidential nomination in 2016, told
lawmakers that standards "should be set
by people from within Wisconsin-and
preferably at the local level."
Wisconsin districts already have the
right not to follow the common-core
standards, academic guidelines the state
adopted in 2010. The potential barrier to
such a move is that their students would
still be tested on state assessments that
are based on the standards.
In a subsequent speech on Feb. 3 outlining
his two-year, $68 billion budget proposal
covering the 2016-17 fiscal years,
Gov. Walker called for cutting off funding for
Wisconsin's use of the tests designed by the
Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium,
one of two main groups of states designing
exams aligned to the common core. Mr.
Walker, whose state faces a major budget
deficit, would hold the spending for K-12
education at roughly the same level. State
schools superintendent Tony Evers has said
he believes the budget will actually result in
a cut in state aid to schools the first year.
Read online compilation & links to full
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Education Week - February 18, 2015