Education Reform: An Economic Imperative
A Policy Address by Governor Mark Warner (D-VA)
May 10, 2005
Note: All video provided in QuickTime (MPEG-4) format.
| Mark Warner was inaugurated as Governor of Virginia in January 2002 and has taken a business-like approach to reforming government services and spending, navigating Virginia through $6 billion in revenue shortfalls, and streamlining state government while continuing to invest in education. From day one, Governor Warner has led the most diverse administration in history. He brings a focus on results, accountability, and “straight talk.”
In 2004, Governor Warner worked with bipartisan majorities in the General Assembly to win passage of what has been called the most comprehensive tax reform proposal considered by any state in the past decade. The plan makes the tax system more fair, keeps commitments in education, health, and public safety, and helped reaffirm Virginia’s sterling Triple-A credit rating from Wall Street rating agencies.
The Governor’s ability to reach a bipartisan consensus on budget and tax reforms led Governing magazine to name him one of its “Public Officials of the Year” in 2004. In 2005, Virginia was the only state in the nation to earn straight A’s in management from teams of experts and academics assembled by the Pew Charitable Trust and Governing magazine. The experts cited Governor Warner’s leadership in long-range planning and other fiscally conservative, business-like reforms.
Governor Warner serves as Chairman of the National Governors Association, where he has launched a national discussion about redesigning the American high school and reforming Medicaid. He recently concluded terms as Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Association, States’s Co-Chairman of the Appalachian Regional Commission, and Chairman of the Education Commission of the States, a national non-partisan policy organization.
In 2003, Governor Warner announced a series of affordable initiatives under the banner “Education for a Lifetime.” The ‘pre-school through grad school and beyond’ measures are designed to move students another rung up the ladder of achievement, demonstrating the linkage between degrees and other markers of academic achievement and economic prosperity.
Student performance on Virginia’s Standards of Learning tests continues to rise in schools across the Commonwealth. The Governor’s nationally recognized Partnership for Achieving Successful Schools, or PASS program, leverages the most successful programs and personnel in Virginia schools to help make real progress for the Commonwealth’s academically challenged schools. The PASS initiative was recognized as a model for improving student achievement and the quality of the workforce by the National Alliance of Business, which gave Virginia and Governor Warner a Distinguished Program Award for leadership in advancing the quality of education and training.
Governor Warner launched Project Graduation in 2003, to help high school seniors across the state who would not receive a diploma without meeting 2004 SOL testing standards — the first deadline with consequences for students since Virginia adopted the SOLs in 1995. The first graduating class affected saw almost no fall-off in seniors graduating.
Before he became governor, Governor Warner had a successful business career in venture capital, funding innovative ideas, and creating jobs and prosperity throughout Virginia and the nation.