Education Trends: Top Issues for Governors in 2016

Education Commission of the States (ECS) recently produced a searchable resource summarizing the education policy highlights contained in governors’ State of the State Addresses going back to 2011. ECS also offers a shorter report on the top education issues mentioned in just the 41 addresses made in 2016.

Governors cited the following topics most in 2016:

  • School finance
  • Teaching quality issues—compensation, recruitment, and retention
  • Postsecondary affordability
  • Career and technical education and workforce development
  • School choice
  • Early learning
  • High school transition—career/college counseling and dual enrollment

Increasing teacher compensation and developing strategies to recruit and retains teachers were at the top of many governors’ priorities during their 2016 State of the State Addresses. The governors of Georgia, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington highlighted teacher compensation, specifically increasing teacher salaries, in their addresses. For example, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin proposed an additional $178 million for a permanent $3,000 teacher pay raise for every teacher in the state.

Governors in Idaho, Indiana, New Mexico, and South Carolina proposed new initiatives related to teacher recruitment and retention. These proposals focused on scholarship programs, mentoring and induction for new teachers, and teacher career ladders.

For more information, visit the ECS web site.


Sungti Hsu

Director of State Affiliate and Partnership Support

Aaron Goldstein

Manager, State Policy & Relations