State Boards of Education Are Key Drivers of Governors’ Education Initiatives in 2019
Alexandria, Va. – According to a NASBE analysis of all 2019 “state of the state” addresses, nearly every governor is prioritizing education, with school funding, career and technical education, postsecondary funding and financial aid, early childhood education, and teacher pay ranking highest. In Colorado, Iowa, Mississippi, New Hampshire, and Washington, state boards are helping to drive initiatives that governors raised in their 2019 speeches.
When Colorado’s governor, Jared Polis, announced his budget request to provide tuition-free full-day kindergarten to school districts across the state, the Colorado State Board of Education responded two days later by issuing a resolution supporting this proposal. Drawing from the board’s strategic plan, the resolution stated how the governor’s proposal aligned with work they had already been doing in early childhood literacy.
During his 2019 address, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant touted the work of both the State Early Childhood Advisory Council and the Early Learning Collaboratives program. Within this second program, the Mississippi State Board of Education approves proposals and funding for local education agencies to create pre-K programs that encourage collaboration among early childhood care providers. This work aligns with the state board’s strategic goal that every child has access to a high-quality early childhood program.
In New Hampshire, Gov. Chris Sununu seeks to expand out-of-classroom learning experiences that would satisfy a high school graduation requirement. The Learn Everywhere initiative does this by creating community-based afterschool environments that are approved by the New Hampshire State Board of Education.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee included a budget in his address that would provide 100,000 students over the next 10 years with apprenticeships and paid internships through initiatives like Career Connect Washington. This coalition brings together business, labor, government, and education leaders, including members of the state board, to connect youth with high-demand, high-wage careers in the state.
Established by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in 2018, the Children’s System State Board was charged to create a state plan and structure for a statewide children’s mental health system. They completed this work, and on April 16, 2019, the Iowa Senate approved creation of a children’s system that ensures their medical and mental health care and education and overall well-being.
If state boards do not reach out across department and partisan lines and leverage their governors’ goal-aligned proposals, writes author Joseph Hedger, “they risk remaining siloed in their work, working at cross-purposes with those who could be allies, and thus undermining their own efforts to achieve good outcomes for students.”
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