HELENA – Gov. Steve Bullock said Tuesday that he would like to work on improving schools in a number of ways.
The governor discussed a laundry list of broad ideas at a meeting of the Board of Education, which includes leaders of both the college and K-12 systems. Bullock says his administration helped increase education funding, backed a college tuition freeze and made other improvements during his first legislative session. He plans other ways to improve schools.
“From my perspective, public education is one of the great equalizers in our society,” Bullock said.
Bullock said more focus is needed on pre-kindergarten education because it has proven to help students achieve later in life. The governor said that he would also like to see more opportunity for high school students to receive college credit for advanced classes, and improved teacher evaluations.
Other areas he would like to address include increased use of technology in classrooms, efforts to improve graduation rates and better ways of training workers needed by industry. Colleges could also continue to help students more quickly graduate.
The governor did not give a price tag for the initiatives.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said a local focus on the Graduation Matters program has improved graduation rates. The issue has been a top priority for Juneau, who is entering her second term.
Juneau said that an effort will need to be made to increase the number of high school teachers eligible to teach classes that also give students college credit. She said the college system generally requires an advanced degree in the subject matter.
Juneau said one success story has been a grant that allowed the state to offer free of charge a test used for college entrance. She said if more students take the test, more will realize they are qualified for college or better understand where they need to improve in order to qualify.
She said that legislative funding would eventually be needed for the priority.