Janet Napolitano on Education

Democratic AZ Governor; Designee for Secretary of Homeland Security


Added voluntary full-day kindergarten as a new grade level

We have added--and protected--a new grade level, voluntary full-day kindergarten, that gives thousands of Arizona students a head start in education that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. By vote of the people, we have set aside critical funding for early childhood education. We have enacted historic teacher pay raises and started a new center to train teachers in the critical fields of science, technology, engineering and math. We've quadrupled the funds going to our schools from our state trust lands. We've increased standards in high school for math and science, and we have cut the high school dropout rate nearly in half.

Yet, as always, there is more to do. We must build on what we have begun. Expanded resources must translate into ever-increasing levels of student achievement. The proportion of our education funds spent in the classroom must increase. The professional status--and the pay--of our classroom teachers must continue to improve.

Source: Arizona 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 12, 2009

Implement school choice via public charter schools

Our public school system educates 82% of Arizona's students. Their future has to be Arizona's number-one priority. School choice is important; we can expand and preserve that choice through the growing institution of quality public charter schools.

Today's short-term budget decisions must not harm the long-term future of Arizona's children. If this Legislature cuts classroom spending, the people of Arizona will recognize such a cut for what it is--not a budget necessity, but a willful and unwise choice.

We must look at higher education in the same way. In the past six years, we have institutionalized the P-20 model in Arizona, which recognizes the reality that education is not neatly segmented, but is instead a continuum of learning that begins at birth and lasts well into a chosen career path.

Source: Arizona 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 12, 2009

For establishing anti-bullying procedures for schools

HB2368: Requires school district governing boards to adopt and enforce procedures that prohibit the harassment, bullying and intimidation of pupils on school property at school sponsored events and activities.

Opposition in Phoenix New Times, May 31, 2012: The law setting the standard for anti-bullying policies in Arizona, passed by the Legislature in 2005, calls for districts to set their own policies and definitions. Arizona Senate Minority Leader David Schapira sees gaps in the current law that he's been trying to fill, as districts' own definitions of bullying can cause under-reporting, and educators and other school district employees aren't trained to recognize that bullying is taking place.

Legislative Outcome:Passed Senate 24-5-1 on Apr/11/05; Passed House 43-12-5 on Apr/14/05; Signed by Governor Janet Napolitano on Apr/20/05

Source: Phoenix New Times on Arizona voting record HB2368 , Apr 20, 2005

Recommend funding for voluntary full-day kindergarten

My budget will recommend first-year funding for voluntary full-day kindergarten to be phased in over the next five years. This phase-in begins where it is needed the most, in schools with at least 90 percent of students who participate in the federal free or reduced-fee lunch program. In years two to five of the phase-in, funding will be distributed to all Arizona school districts.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to Arizona Legislature , Jan 12, 2004

Emphasize the importance of reading literacy

Every parent and teacher should know that so long as I am Governor, every first-grade child in Arizona will receive a book. To ensure that reading literacy is better-emphasized throughout elementary and middle school, I also am calling for improvements in the teacher certification process. We must insist on additional middle school literacy training, to empower teachers to aggressively attack reading deficiencies at every grade level, through the 8th grade.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to Arizona Legislature , Jan 12, 2004

Scholarship program for early childhood education teachers

We must support teachers who provide education to our youngest children by offering scholarships so that they can improve their own education and thereby the education of preschool children. This year we will build on a $1.6-million early childhood educator grant we recently received from the US Department of Education, by implementing a statewide scholarship program for early childhood education teachers.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to Arizona Legislature , Jan 12, 2004

Help teachers undergo the necessary training

Getting master teacher accreditation not only is challenging, it also can be quite expensive for teachers who seek it. I will establish the Arizona Master Teachers program, to secure public and private funding to help teachers undergo the necessary training to receive master teacher status. I challenged every school district in Arizona to convert an additional five percent of district operating budgets to classroom-related spending, and I gave them two years in which to do it.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to Arizona Legislature , Jan 12, 2004

No cut in higher education funding

I am ready to work in partnership with Arizona’s universities and community colleges to enhance access to a higher education, intensify university research efforts, and increase graduation rates. My budget recommendation for this year will continue to invest significantly in Arizona’s universities and community colleges so that they can continue to grow into their new and more vital 21st Century role.
Source: 2004 State of the State speech to Arizona Legislature , Jan 12, 2004

Supports school choice without expense of vouchers

Q: What is your position on vouchers?

A: I support school choice. Arizona has one of the nation’s largest populations of charter schools, and parents have a wide variety of choices available to them for their children’s education. I believe that this system is sufficient to provide for adequate school choice without utilizing additional public resources for a state-sponsored voucher system.

Source: Campaign web site, www.GoJanet.org, “Issues” , Sep 9, 2002

Offer every parent Charter Schools and public school choice.

Napolitano adopted the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":

Create World-Class Public Schools
Now more than ever, quality public education is the key to equal opportunity and upward mobility in America. Yet our neediest children often attend the worst schools. While lifting the performance of all schools, we must place special emphasis on strengthening those institutions serving, and too often failing, low-income students.

To close this achievement and opportunity gap, underperforming public schools need more resources, and above all, real accountability for results. Accountability means ending social promotion, measuring student performance with standards-based assessments, and testing teachers for subject-matter competency.

As we demand accountability, we should ensure that every school has the resources needed to achieve higher standards, including safe and modern physical facilities, well-paid teachers and staff, and opportunities for remedial help after school and during summers. Parents, too, must accept greater responsibility for supporting their children’s education.

We need greater choice, competition, and accountability within the public school system, not a diversion of public funds to private schools that are unaccountable to taxpayers. With research increasingly showing the critical nature of learning in the early years, we should move toward universal access to pre-kindergarten education.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC2 on Aug 1, 2000

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Page last updated: Oct 27, 2021