It’s the time of year when governors give state of the state speeches to address issues, call for change, recognize triumphs and paint hopeful portraits of the future.
Today, we’re highlighting three governors—from New Mexico, Indiana and Georgia—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.
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
Yesterday, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez delivered her sixth State of the State address, proposing greater investments in New Mexico’s education system to provide needed resources for early learners and to attract and support great teachers. “You see, if we don’t get this part right—if our kids don’t learn to read, if we cannot graduate our students with basic knowledge and life skills—the ripple effects in their lives, in their children’s lives and in society are potentially enormous,” the Governor said.
Education highlights in Governor Martinez remarks included:
- K-3 Reading: Governor Martinez is proposing $10 million to launch “New Mexico Reads to Lead 2.0” to better target interventions for struggling readers. This initiative expands the Governor’s efforts to ensure every New Mexico student can read by the end of third grade. The Governor is also asking for an additional $7 million to give at-risk learners the tools they need to fulfill their God-given potential, including access to summer reading camps and more time in class.
Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Last week, Indiana Governor Mike Pence delivered his fourth State of the State address, once again committing to Indiana students and teachers. Whether it be expanding student-centered school choice programs, providing additional dollars to Indiana’s highest-performing teachers or giving much-needed support and focus to career and technical education, the Hoosier economy will realize the benefits of these policies for years to come.
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal also delivered his sixth State of the State address last week. Governor Deal is a tireless champion for education reforms that benefit all of Georgia’s students, and he used his state of the state address to underscore his dedication to ensuring that the state’s education system be student-centered and focused on improving achievement.
Education highlights in Governor Deal’s remarks included:
- K-12 Funding Reform: Governor Deal’s Education Reform Commission has recommended a student-based funding formula to replace the current system, which is more than 30 years old. He asked lawmakers to review this recommendation and many others made by the Commission, with a goal of implementation in 2017. He also announced an additional $300 million for K-12 education this year, and asked local districts to use that money to raise teacher salaries by 3 percent.
- High-quality Assessments: The Governor called on local school systems and the Georgia Department of Education to evaluate current testing requirements in a measured and thoughtful manner in light of the new federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). “I do not suggest that tests should be abolished simply because the results might be embarrassing,” Governor Deal said. “In fact, it is those tests that pinpoint areas in need of remediation. But tests that are duplicative and do not enhance educational achievement should be abolished.”
- A-F School Grading: With the first letter grades under the state’s recently adopted policy expected soon, the Governor highlighted the plight of 74,000 Georgia students who attend chronically failing schools (schools that have earned a D or F for three consecutive years) and the constitutional amendment to create an Opportunity School District that will be on the statewide ballot in November.
ExcelinEd is working to build an American education system that prepares our students for success. We are thankful for leaders like Governors Martinez, Pence and Deal who are building a better future for their students.