We are an independent, solution-oriented think tank at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy.Learn More.

Education in 2020 State of the States Addresses

Across the country, governors are delivering state of the state addresses filled with proposals for education. FutureEd is reviewing each speech and sharing the education highlights.

AlabamaOn Feb 2, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey mentioned her plans to:

  • Include an additional $25 million in her budget to expand the state's First Class Pre-K Program.
  • Propose a $1 billion-dollar public school and college authority for K-12 education, as well as for our two- and four-year colleges and universities.
  • Propose a 3 percent pay raise for all teachers.

Alaska: On Jan. 27, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy mentions the need to improve some of the state's schools. To accomplish this he will:

  • Instruct the Commissioner of Education to assemble a working group to review teacher retention and recruitment issues
  • Allocate resources toward teacher training, department-employed reading specialists, and the implementation of early literacy interventions through the Alaska Reads Act.
  • Ensure all students are reading by 3rd grade.

ArizonaOn Jan. 14, Republican Gov. Doug Ducey emphasized targeting the achievement gap in low-income schools. He recommends:

  • Investing $6.6 billion into Arizona schools.
  • Investing in school counselors, crops on campus, and school safety.
  • A stronger focus on CTE and the trades.
  • More money for the Arizona Teachers Academy, and Teach for America.
  • Fully funding the cost of Advanced Placement tests for low-income students.
  • Allowing middle schoolers to complete the citizenship test.

California: On Feb. 19, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom touted the past year's accomplishment of making two years of community college free. For this year, he plans to focus on:

  • Removing lead and toxic mold from school buildings.

ColoradoOn Jan. 9, Democratic Gov. Jared Polis noted "[The] pathway to prosperity often starts with a great education." In that vein, he plans to:

  • Provide funds for an additional 6,000 children to attend preschool.
  • Achieve universal access to quality preschool for 4-year-olds.
  • Raise pay for teachers.

Connecticut: On Feb. 5, Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont emphasized that Connecticut maintains the highest quality education and training pipeline in the nation. He noted that this year:

  • UConn will eliminate tuition for all students of families earning less than $50,000 a year, and community college will be debt-free for recent high school grads.

Delaware: On Jan. 23, Gov. John Carney pledged to continue progress on education by:

  • Launching a partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and with pediatricians to provide free books to children from birth to age 5.
  • Expanding school meal programs to breakfast and summer programs.
  • Continuing an investment in “Opportunity Funding” to improve graduation rates for disadvantaged children.
  • Increasing funding for pre-K seats by 50 percent statewide.
  • Investing $50 million to build a new school on the East Side of Wilmington.
  • Supporting capital projects as part of the Higher Education Economic Development Fund.

FloridaOn Jan. 14, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis explained "over the past year, my administration has been focused on education—and for good reason." He proposes:

  • Setting a minimum salary for public school teachers at $47,500.
  • Replacing the Best and Brightest bonus program with a new, more equitable initiative.
  • Emphasizing bonuses for teachers and principals in Title I schools, with bonuses available of up to $7,500 and $10,000, respectively.
  • Replacing the Common Core with a "superior approach" that focuses on American civics and the U.S. Constitution.

Georgia: On Jan. 16, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp had Georgia’s 2020 superintendent and teacher of the year as guests. He called for:

  • Fully funding public school education for the third year in a row.
  • Dismantling the remnants of Common Core.
  • Reducing the number of required tests.

In his budget he:

  • Included a $2,000 pay raise for all public school educators.

Hawaii: On Jan. 21, Democratic Gov. David Y. Ige advises in favor of:

  • Every 3- and 4-year-old to have the opportunity to attend a childcare or preschool program by the end of the decade.

IdahoOn Jan. 6, Republican Gov. Brad Little mentioned that education is his number one priority. He proposes:

  • Putting an additional $30 million in the General Fund for the purpose of increasing teacher pay.
  • Additional training and resources for teachers related to trauma and mental health.
  • The development of cyber security programs offered jointly at three Idaho universities.
  • Allocating $6 million in the capital budget for new CTE facilities.
  • Ongoing funds for Idaho Job Corps.

Illinois: On Jan. 29, Democratic Gov. John Pritzker mentioned the need to recommit to education. He highlighted steps that Illinois has taken in the past year including:

  • Passing a bill to modernize college and university facilities.
  • Expanding college scholarships and free tuition programs.
  • Rebuilding childcare centers and schools.
  • Raising the minimum teacher salary.
  • Expanding CTE.

IndianaOn Jan. 14, Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb recommends:

  • Allocating an additional $250 million of the budget surplus toward the Teacher Retirement Fund, which will  generate $50 million to be redirected to teacher pay.
  • Eliminating unfunded K-12 mandates and unnecessary paperwork.
  • Removing the requirement that teachers earn career-related professional growth points.
  • Decoupling ILEARN proficiency test scores with teacher evaluation and school letter grades.
  • Ensuring a relationship with a mental health provider for each school.
  • Financially supporting educators working on the requirements to teach dual credit courses come 2022.
  • Setting a goal of 60 percent of adults having post-secondary education and training.

Iowa: On Jan. 14, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds called for:

  • The Department of Human Services to remove barriers restricting schools from partnering with telehealth providers, including for behavioral health services.
  • The legislature to ensure every student has access to computer science skills.
  • Approval of $1 million for work-based learning coordinators to be covered by operational-sharing agreements.
  • Approval of $103 million in new funding "so that Iowa schools can maintain the best teachers and classrooms in the world."

Kansas: On Jan. 16, Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly praised efforts to improving education. She pledged:

  • To veto any bill that would undo successful legislation last year to reform how school funded.
  • Pledged to work with  the Council on Education she established soon after taking office to align early childhood, K-12, higher education and workforce development.

KentuckyOn Jan. 14, Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear said "public education has the power to transform lives. It will be prioritized under my administration." He plans to:

  • Waive the GED test fee.
  • Raise every teacher's pay by $2,000 per year.
  • Increase the number of postsecondary options, including technical degrees and certifications.
  • End "historic" cuts to universities and community colleges.

Maine: On Jan. 21, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills reaffirmed Maine’s commitment to education by:

  • Including $115 million in new state support for K-12 education in her budget which paved the way for establishing a $40,000 minimum teacher salary, replenishing the fund to renovate schools in disrepair and increasing dollars for higher education to keep tuition affordable.
  • Recommending the legislature pass the Educational Opportunity Tax Credit and Maine Loan Forgiveness Program.
  • Requesting the legislature fund equipment upgrades for CTE.

Maryland: On Feb. 5, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan mentioned his commitment to ensuring that every student in Maryland has access to a great education. In order to achieve that he advises:

  • Passing the "Building Opportunity Act of 2020" to provide $3.9 billion in funding for school construction.

Massachusetts: On Jan. 21, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker reminded lawmakers of the state’s education reform efforts and proposed to:

  • Launch a $15 million partnership with vocational skills to address the skills gap.
  • Make a $1.5 billion commitment of new state funds to “elevate our kids and our schools.”

Michigan: On Jan. 29, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer mentioned that the state is going to double down on their commitment to early literacy. Specifically, she mentioned:

  • Making pre-k universal for kids living in districts with low test scores but high poverty.
  • Having literacy coaches train educators to identify and support struggling readers.
  • Moving toward a more equitable funding formula.
  • Announcing a governor's FAFSA challenge to encourage high school students to apply for financial aid.

Mississippi: On Jan. 27, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves noted that Mississippi is the number one state in the country for educational gains. To continue this trend, he:

  • Set a goal to equip teachers with the funding and tools to become national board certified if they want to be, and to make Mississippi the state with the most certified teachers by the end of his time in office.
  • Advised investing in worker training like apprenticeships, community college grants, and assistance for workers.
  • Urged lawmakers to pay teachers "as much as we can possibly afford."

Missouri: On Jan. 15, Republican Gov. Mike Parson mentioned that he plans to build stronger communities by improving education. Specifically, he recommends:

  • Allocating $750,000 to certify 12,000 new high school students as work-ready through the Work Keys program.
  • Greater access to virtual learning.
  • Increase opportunities for high-demand training at the high school level.
  • Expand opportunities through Jobs for America's Graduates to help students transition to the workforce.
  • Increasing school transportation funding.

Nebraska: On Jan. 15, Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts delivered his state of the state address. He proposed:

  •  Investing $16 million in scholarships for students at community colleges, state colleges, and University system pursuing careers in such fields as math, engineering, healthcare and IT.

New Hampshire: On Feb. 13, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu reminded lawmakers of the array of education initiatives approved last year and:

  • Urged lawmakers to approve a 10-year plan providing debt relief to students, a proposal that was killed by the legislature last year.
  • Noted the recent opening of the New Hampshire Career Academy, which allows students receive a high school diploma, associate's degree, and a guaranteed job interview.

New JerseyOn Jan. 15, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy noted the need to invest in education. He envisions:

  • Free education from Pre-k through an associate's degree.
  • A higher education system that is connected to the real economy.

New Mexico: On Jan. 21, Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grishman reiterated her commitment to improving education. She recommends:

  • Another raise for educators.
  • New programs that have extended learning time and K-5 Plus.
  • Implementing child care, pre-k, home visiting, family nutrition, and early intervention services.
  • The establishment of the Early Childhood Trust Fund.
  • The establishment of The Opportunity Scholarship which would provide tuition-free higher education to 55,000 New Mexico students next fall.

New YorkOn Jan. 8, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo emphasizes that "education is the civil rights issue of our time." He recommends:

  • Using state funds to reduce funding disparities in districts, fund poorer schools, and close the education gap.
  • Expanding free college tuition for families making up to $150,000 a year.
  • Investing in Opportunity Programs and expanding workforce training centers.
  • Adding civics to the curriculum.
  • Increasing community schools and after school programming.
  • Additional funding for security grants to schools.

North Dakota: On Jan. 29, Republican Gov. Doug Burgum highlighted the state's work on education in 2019, and noted that he plans to:

  • Host the fourth annual Governor's Summit on Innovative Education in June.
  • Respond to high demands for work-based learning, certificate programs, online education, and dual credit high school programs.
  • Host Dakota Strike: a career expo for students grades 7 to 12 and college.

Oklahoma: On Feb. 3, Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt mentioned a continued focus on becoming Top Ten in education. In order to achieve this, he recommends:

  • Issuing a teaching certificate to anyone with a valid out-of-state teaching certificate, with no other requirements except a criminal history record check.
  • Raise the cap on the Oklahoma Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship to $30 million.
  • Allow the remaining cash balance from 2019 and funds from the Revenue Stabilization Fund to be leveraged, if needed, to compensate for any temporary pause in Class III gaming fees.

Pennsylvania: On February 4, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf gave a budget address in which he pledged to:

  • Invest $60 million to increase the size of state tuition grants that serve more than 130,000 students.
  • Spend $200 million in scholarships for state residents attending state system universities.
  • Expand universal, no-cost, full-day kindergarten to make it available for every child.
  • Increase funding for high-quality early childhood education by $30 million.
  • Add $25 million in funding for special education
  • Increase the fair funding formula by $100 million
  • Change the way district payments to charter schools are calculated, which could result in $280 million less spending in charter schools.
  • Increase teachers pay by an unspecified amount.
  • Spend $1 billion investment in fixing school buildings with environmental hazards and streamline the process to apply for funding.

Rhode Island: On Jan. 13, Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo proposed to:

  • Allocate an additional $30 million to support students and teachers across the state.
  • Invest in high-quality curricula and ensure more students have access to advanced classes in high school.
  • Invest in support for multi-lingual learners.
  • Increase the number of mental health professionals in schools.
  • Provide more professional development and mental health training.
  • Keep science and math teachers in the state by assisting them with student loans.
  • Increase the number of high-quality PreK classrooms by more than 50 percent.
  • Acquire a bond to build more high-quality classrooms.
  • Make the Promise Scholarship for free community college permanent.

South Carolina: On Jan. 23, Republican Gov. Henry McMaster noted that he wants to “unleash the free market into early childhood education through parental choice.” He suggests:

  • Eliminating red tape and regulations while increasing the money that follows each child.
  • Updating the state’s funding formula and testing systems.
  • Adding a 5 percent funding increase for each institution of higher education that does not raise tuition.
  • Updating higher education infrastructure.
  • Providing an additional $164 million for need-based scholarships and grants for higher education.
  • Paying 100 percent of college tuition for active duty members of the state’s Army or Air National Guard.
  • Approving $50 million in his budget for collaborations between technical colleges, school districts and businesses.

South Dakota: On Jan. 14, Republican Gov. Kristi Noem mentioned:

  • Using surplus revenue to provide an increase in funding for K-12 schools.
  • Having South Dakota State University and the School of Mines and Technology supporting research and development in bioprocessing.
  • Ensuring that every school offer the HuntSAFE program for students.

Tennessee: On Feb. 3, Republican Gov. Bill Lee proposed:

  • Spending $117 million additional dollars for teachers.
  • Increasing the minimum salary for teachers to $40,000 within the next two years.
  • Applying to create an AP education teaching course and launch grants to support district "Grow-Your-Own" programs to support the development of future teachers as early as high school.
  • Including $8.5 million in his budget to support the launch of the Governor's Teaching Fellowship-- a college scholarship for students training to become teachers.
  • Launching a competition, organized by the Tennessee Teacher and Leader Institute, to create the best teacher preparatory program.
  • Investing $4 million to support professional development and career advancement opportunities for school leaders and teachers, respectively.
  • Growing the Department of Mental Health's school-based behavioral health liaison program from 36 to all 95 counties.
  • Creating a $250 million K-12 Mental Health Trust Fund.
  • Establishing new, clearer standards for the training and development of teachers.
  • Investing $70 million for teacher resources related to early childhood literacy.
  • Increasing the number of dual enrollment students by 10% and the number of Tennessee degrees in computer science and data analytics by 20%.

Utah: On Jan. 30, Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said that Utah's goal is to have the best education system in America. He hopes to:

  • Continue to enhance mental health resources for students.
  • Modernize Utah's tax policy to have sustainable funding for public education.

Vermont: On Jan. 9, Republican Gov. Phil Scott emphasized the "cradle to career" approach that Vermont is taking to education. In his speech, he:

  • Proposed created a universal afterschool network that ensures every child has access to enrichment opportunities and aligns the students’ day with the length of the workday.
  • Stressed how he increased state funding for child care by about $10 million, invested $5 million more in higher ed, and added nearly $1.5 million for career and trades training.
  • Noted the growing funding disparities among schools and districts.

Virginia: On Jan 8. Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam spoke about the demands that a changing economy places on education. Recognizing that he:

  • Pledged to invest $95 million on an early education program for at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds, including training educators, providing support, and setting accountability standards.
  • Proposed spending an added $140 million for the “At-Risk Add-On” for educationally at-risk students.
  • Mentioned the need for more counselors in schools and the need for raising teachers salaries but provided no details.
  • Proposed a free community college program (tuition, fees and books) for low- and moderate-income students who are studying in-demand fields—including health care, early childhood education, IT, public safety, or the skilled trades. Participants would have to perform community service. Students who already have Pell grants would get a stipend to help with other expenses.
  • Called for increased funding to make public colleges more affordable for students.
  • Promised to increase funding for the Tuition Assistance Grants for Virginia students going to private colleges in state.
  • Proposed in-state tuition for DREAMers
  • Increased higher education grants for veterans and the National Guard.
  • Increased funding for Virginia’s two public historically black colleges and universities.

Washington: On Jan. 14, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee highlighted the various pathways to careers that Washington offers, including apprenticeships, job certifications, classroom education and higher education. He pledged to:

  • Ensure more students have access to early learning opportunities.
  • Continue to make investments in K-12, including special education.
  • Praised the first female quarterback in the state’s history to throw a touchdown pass for a high school football team.

West Virginia: On Jan. 8, Republican Gov. Jim Justice pledged that education would be "our centerpiece," adding. "We have changed the way the outside world thinks about us and thinks about education." In his speech, he:

  • Pledged to add $2 million to the budget for the Department of Education's program that gives children a backpack full of food to take home on weekends.
  • Praised the Community in Schools program being used in 71 schools serving 28,000 students. The program pulls together community resources to support children and families.
  • Praised the state teacher of the year for transforming the way science is taught.
  • Credited the state's free college program for contributing to job growth.

Wisconsin: On Jan. 22, Democratic Gov. Tony Evers mentioned that economic development begins with education. He plans to:

  • Sign an executive order to create a Task Force on Student Debt in Wisconsin. 
  • Bolster the state's Farm-to-School program to get the food farmers produce into schools.
  • Establish a Farm-to-Fork program to connect farmers and their food with universities and technical colleges.

Wyoming: On Feb. 10, Republican Gov. Mark Gordon promised to deliver a 21st Century education by:

  • Recalibrating the education funding formula.
  • Modernizing the state’s education curriculum and standards, what is known as “the basket of goods.”
  • Calling for greater collaboration among education and workforce development agencies.