Gov. Terry Branstad

Elected governor of Iowa in 1982, Terry Branstad is the senior governor in the nation. Realizing education and a highly educated workforce key future success, he has given education a consistently growing share of Iowa's state budget. He engineered America's first statewide fiber-optic telecommunications network, bringing distance learning to Iowa schools. Recently, his $150 million School Improvement and Technology Program was adopted to help prepare Iowa schools for the 21st century. He was chair of the National Governors' Association in 1989, during the historic Education Summit with President Bush. In 1997, he chaired the Republican Governors' Association, the Education Commission of the States and the Governors' Ethanol Coalition.

Gov. John Engler

In 1990, when John Engler was elected Michigan's 46th governor, taxes and unemployment were high, and the state faced a deficit of $1.8 billion in a general fund of $8 billion. Today, taxes are

down, employment is up and the state's budget is balanced. In education, he has fought for higher standards, better assessments, local control, interdistrict school choice and the nation's landmark charter-schools law. Michigan is the only state to increase education funding, balance its budget five years in a row and cut taxes 24 times. Engler led the 1994 campaign to win citizen approval for Proposal A, which led to cutting property taxes by $3 billion.

Gov. Tom Ridge

Understanding that economic opportunity for children depends on an education, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge makes education reform a top priority. Last spring, the Legislature accepted his challenge to create charter public schools. In 1996, Gov. Ridge won the first comprehensive reform of public-school sabbaticals in decades and a new tenure-reform measure. His Advisory Commission on Academic Standards created a new rigorous set of academic standards to ensure that a Pennsylvania diploma means its bearer can compete in the 21st-century economy. Now, Pennsylvania's 21st-century teachers must do better in school and on teacher tests, and take more intensive instruction in the subject they want to teach.

Gov. Pete Wilson

As governor of California since 1991, Pete Wilson was the first governor in the nation to sign a "Three Strikes and You're Out" bill into law, is the national leader in the drive to stop illegal immigration and led the effort to end racial quotas and special preferences. He signed legislation reducing class sizes in kindergarten through third grade, increased computer resources for California students and continues to build on his previous reform to put the basics back into school curriculum. He signed a four-year funding compact with higher education to ensure California's two university systems continue to meet the challenge of providing a growing population with a high-quality education.

June Table of Contents

Tod Newcombe  |  Government Technology