Capitol Comments

During the 66th annual meeting of CSG West, the Education Committee held a session on pre-k education and rigorous academic standards and assessment systems, focusing on those practices in the western region. The session featured several representatives from national groups, including the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) and Achieve, an independent, bipartisan, nonprofit education reform organization pushing for college- and career-readiness, as well as representatives from various state departments in the west.

 In House Bill 866, signed last month by Governor Rick Perry, Texas hopes to allow high State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test takers to skip certain exams. While the bill has been signed by Gov. Perry, it cannot go into practice unless Texas receives a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

This week, The National Association of State Student Grant and Aid Programs (NASSGAP) released their 43rd Annual Survey report on State-Sponsored Student Financial Aid for the 2011-2012 academic year.

On Tuesday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam launched Western Governors University Tennessee, or WGU Tennessee.  "We think this is a significant day in the state of Tennessee," Haslam said at a news conference. The venture is part of Gov. Haslam’s ‘drive to 55’ program, which aims at increasing the percentage of Tennesseans with a postsecondary degree to 55 percent by the year 2025.

On Wednesday, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced the expansion of Alabama’s pre-kindergarten program. While HB 166 was signed into law in May, it has been getting more attention as Fiscal Year 2014 nears, the education budget will create 93 new grant recipients in pre-kindergarten programs throughout Alabama.