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State of the States Focus on Education

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Education was a major focus of both Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s respective State of the State addresses.

Here are highlights from both speeches. Full transcriptions of Brownback and Nixon’s speeches can be found at respective links.

Brownback delivered his speech Jan. 15, 2014. He championed a state plan to fund all-day kindergarten and commented on the Kansas Supreme Court’s pending ruling on school finance. These quotes are taken directly from a transcription posted to Brownback’s website.

“Kansas ranks fourth among all states in the percentage of our budget committed to education…more than 50 percent. When we look at funding from all government sources, Kansas schools receive more than $12,500 per student. For every classroom of 20 students, that’s a quarter million dollars in taxpayer spending. A state that cares enough to make that kind of annual commitment also cares enough to see that that money is spent wisely, and the best decisions are usually made by those closest to the students.”

“On the number one item in the state budget – education – the Constitution empowers the Legislature—the people’s representatives—to fund our schools. This is the people’s business, done by the people’s house through the wonderfully untidy– but open for all to see — business of appropriations. Let us resolve that our schools remain open and are not closed by the courts or anyone else.”

Nixon shared his plans to increase education funding on every level in the upcoming legislative session Jan. 21, 2014.

“Our single greatest responsibility – as elected officials, as parents, as citizens of our state – is to make sure every child in Missouri has an opportunity to achieve his or her dreams. And we all know, that opportunity starts with education.”

“Every one of us has run for office. And when we knocked on doors and folks asked if we believed in public education – we all said yes. And at every town hall meeting, when someone raised their hand and asked what we’d do for teachers – we said we’d support them. And on the campaign trail, I’ll bet almost all of us made a promise to invest in our students and our schools. Well, you know what? It’s time to put our budgets where our campaign brochures are. Now it’s time to decide whether we’re merely going to talk about public education, or whether we’re going to fund it. This is the test – and this is the year – to get serious about fully funding our schools. Our local schools will put these dollars to work in a big way for our kids and communities.”

“And yet each year, there are some who believe the way to build up our schools is to tear down our teachers – trying to cut their pay, or reduce their retirement benefits or threaten their job security. That simply needs to stop. Now we can all support making smart reforms to our education system. And of course, we should hold educators accountable for the important job we entrust them to perform.”

“From preschool to graduate school, in total, my budget includes 493 million additional dollars for education.”

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