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State of States Update: Idaho and Arizona Governors Spotlight Education

• ExcelinEd

This week, our nation’s president and state governors have been giving state of the state speeches to address issues, call for change, recognize triumphs and paint hopeful portraits of the future.

Today, we’re highlighting two governors—from Idaho and Arizona—who have used their state of the state addresses to discuss education. Specifically, how they plan to center their state education systems on students and focus on improving student achievement.

Gov. Otter quoteOn Monday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter delivered his 10th State of the State address, once again embracing reform policies to improve the state’s education system for all students.

Education highlights in Governor Otter’s remarks included:

  • K-3 Reading: Governor Otter understands that reading is the key to lifelong learning. He proposed $10.7 million to pay for intervention support for students in kindergarten through third grade who are not yet proficient on the state reading indicator. “Through the third grade, they [students] learn to read. But from the fourth grade on, they read to learn. So if we’re serious about wanting long-term improvement in school outcomes, we must intensify our efforts to provide the kind of proven support that works for students who struggle to develop reading skills,” Governor Otter said.
  • Competency-Based Education : Building on last year’s legislation to support the voluntary transition of schools in Idaho to a mastery-based education system, Governor Otter said, “I saw firsthand the difference that individualized learning can make in comprehension, application and ultimately mastery. From reading proficiency to mastering concepts and from our community colleges to our universities, our emphasis must be on going the extra mile to prepare students to succeed in a complex and competitive global economy. That preparation in turn will support and advance the economic growth and increased prosperity that we are all striving to achieve.” His budget recommendation includes $1.1 million to support up to 20 school districts in developing model programs for others to follow throughout Idaho.
  • College and Career Readiness : “Ensuring that students are college and career ready is as critical to employers as it is to Idaho’s young people. That’s why higher standards, more individualized learning, more dual-credit offerings, and more professional-technical options are high priorities in my budget recommendation.” Governor Otter’s budget recommendation includes $3.8 million to address those training backlogs in industry areas where graduates will find more high-wage jobs.

Az quoteOn Monday, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey delivered his second State of the State address, reiterating his continued commitment to improving and expanding educational opportunities for all of Arizona’s children. Governor Ducey’s leadership is continuing to improve Arizona’s education system and making it a model for the country.


Education highlights from Governor Ducey’s include:

  • College and Career Readiness: The Governor said, “So—under our plan, schools that produce students who successfully complete AP-level, college-prep courses will be rewarded with more dollars.”
  • School Choice: As a pioneering state on school choice, Governor Ducey wants Arizona to continue its support for high-quality charter schools, ensuring that all students can find the schools and education program to meet their learning needs.

In states across the country, we see governors, legislative leaders, schools and parents embracing proven education reforms. Governors Otter and Ducey are continuing to embrace reform agendas to help students in their states achieve their full potential through these policies and others.

We’re excited to see how these states continue building a better future for their students.


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