2021 State of the State Addresses Highlight Key Education Issues

Early LearningK-12Postsecondary & Workforce

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The 2020 election included 11 gubernatorial races that resulted in two new governors. Because many governors appoint top education policy leaders in their states and often campaign on education issues, they play a key role in setting their state’s education policy agenda. While most of the governors from last year are still at the helm, the financial and social implications of the COVID-19 pandemic have shaken up education services and state budgets this last year. To find out more, we are turning to governors’ State of the State addresses to see what they are planning for education in 2021 and beyond.

Governors’ State of the State addresses sketch out their policy priorities, highlight past accomplishments, and reflect on the condition of their state and our country. Each year, Education Commission of the States summarizes and identifies trends in education policy proposals featured in these addresses. We add these summaries to our interactive map within 48 hours of the address — click on a state to see a summary of the education policy issues highlighted by that state’s governor every year since 2005! (You can also view governors’ education proposals by year and issue — an easy way to spot trends across states and over the years.)

Last year brought a lot of challenges to education service delivery, and 2021 appears to be no different. The State of the State addresses provide a look into each states’ circumstances and priorities. We  plan to share a full analysis in March; until then, stay tuned to our interactive map!

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Policy Researcher at Education Commission of the States

As a policy researcher, Emily works on answering information requests and collecting data related to state education policy. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, Emily started pursuing her doctorate in public affairs and worked as a budget analyst at the Oregon Capitol. Emily earned her bachelor’s degree in economics from Willamette University and is currently working on her dissertation at the University of Colorado School of Public Affairs.

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Policy researcher at Education Commission of the States | bkelley@ecs.org

As a policy researcher, Bryan works on tracking legislation, answering information requests and contributing to other policy team projects. Prior to joining Education Commission of the States, he worked in public policy research at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Denver and AcademyHealth in Washington, D.C.; he also earned a master's degree from the University of Manchester and a bachelor's degree from Colorado College. When Bryan is not busy researching education policy, he can be found hiking around Colorado, trying a new cafe or brewery, or planning his next vacation destination with his wife.

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