Governors’ Education Priorities

In this year’s State of the State addresses Governors unsurprisingly focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for students, teachers and education more broadly.

by Jon Alfuth, Policy Analyst

Since 2005 the Education Commission of the States (ECS) has collected and analyzed education topics featured by Governors in their State of the State addresses – annual speeches in which Governors review the past year and outline their priorities for coming one. Over the past two years, we have partnered with ECS in reviewing and analyzing Governor’s education proposals to identify trends.

In the 42 addresses delivered so far this year ECS and NGA identified six high-level trends related to education:

  1. Funding (at least 32 Governors)
  2. Remote Learning (at least 29 Governors)
  3. Workforce Development (at least 24 Governors)
  4. Reopening Schools (at least 22 Governors)
  5. Student Achievement and Learning Loss (at least 21 Governors)
  6. Physical and Mental Health (at least 18 Governors)

Teacher Compensation and Early Learning were also popular topics with at least seventeen Governors addressing each topic.

Click here for ECS’ complete summaries of education policy priorities outlined in each governor’s State of the State address. Click here to access NGA’s complete list of all State of the State addresses delivered to date in 2021.

Additional Resources

“In many of our more affluent neighborhoods we teach kids how to fish and give them a speedboat, a graphite rod and a Fish Finder. And you know what? Those kids can fish. But in too many of our rural communities and communities of color we give kids a stick and a string … and then we can’t figure out why they don’t catch as many fish. Education has always been called the great equalizer, but it can’t be that way if our kids are not treated equally.”

Utah Governor Spencer Cox