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Steve Bullock on Education

 

 


Freeze college tuition; college credit for veterans

For our veterans, we've expanded opportunities to get college credit for prior learning gained through their military service. In 2013, states around the country were slashing university budgets and saddling students with steep tuition increases. Instead, we have increased investments in higher education while freezing college tuition four of the last six years; leading to Montana having the fourth lowest tuition and fees in the nation. Let's once again freeze in-state college tuition and prevent what is effectively a tax increase on 28,000 Montana students and their families. And let's finally join 49 other states providing state-funded, need-based financial aid for students and adult learners. These investments will determine for decades to come the economic success of Montana students, workers and families.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Montana legislature , Jan 31, 2019

1-2-Free: High school dual enrollment to college

Public education is one of our state's great equalizers. I launched the "1-2-Free" Dual Enrollment Program so that high school students can take their first two college classes without paying a single penny in tuition. In 2013, not a single one of our two-year or tribal colleges was offering apprenticeships. We now have apprenticeship coursework in seven out of ten two-year colleges, and in five of seven tribal colleges.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Montana legislature , Jan 31, 2019

Increase funding for higher education

We have much to be pleased with when it comes to our wise investments in higher education.
Source: 2017 State of the State address to Montana Legislature , Jan 24, 2017

Invest in publicly funded early childhood education

It's time to follow the lead of 45 other states that have done it already, and invest in publicly funded early childhood education. My administration and local districts have made progress for our four-year olds these past four years, in spite of--not as a result of--this body. Last year, more than 650 children were able to access high quality preschool their parents otherwise might not have been able to afford.

The average cost of childcare in Montana for a four-year old is $7,900 dollars--in other words, more than college tuition at Montana State University or the University of Montana. A mom earning minimum wage could easily spend half of her income on childcare for just one kiddo.

Let's help those families. I have proposed a $12 million preschool grant program to allow school districts, Head Start programs or high-quality private preschool providers to offer preschool for four-year-old kids at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level.

Source: 2017 State of the State address to Montana Legislature , Jan 24, 2017

Invest in higher ed for 21st Century workforce, like Diesel

We can't expect to develop a 21st Century workforce in 20th Century conditions. The next generation of plumbers and welders, nurses and imaging techs, diesel mechanics and carpenters are learning their trades in substandard facilities.

The Missoula College was built in 1956 for 700 students and now has an enrollment approaching 3,000. Last week I visited the Automotive and Diesel Program at Havre. It has 200 students, a 100% placement rate, and some graduates earn a starting salary better than a Governor. But without our investment, this program cannot grow.

And it's not just Missoula and Havre; many of our facilities are outdated and operating beyond their capacity. The young Montanans who are willing to invest in higher education deserve better. That's why [the state government]--along with the Montana Chamber of Commerce, the Montana Contractors Association and others--have joined together to propose record investments in our educational facilities.

Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Montana legislature , Jan 30, 2013

Increase from 40% to 60% those with some college

Let's commit to increasing the number of Montana adults with a post-secondary degree or professional certificate to at least 60% over the next decade. We are now at about 40%; this is an ambitious goal. I have included proposals in this budget that move us in this direction.
Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Montana legislature , Jan 30, 2013

MT is dead last in investment in early childhood education

Unfortunately, Montana is dead last in the nation--50th out of 50--in state investment in early childhood education. That's unacceptable.

We can't expect the federally funded Head Start program to carry the entire burden. Some local communities have stepped in to make sure these youngsters are given a better chance.

As a first step, I urge this body to expand the proven "Stars to Quality Program" and make the long overdue investment in school readiness. I've laid out a plan that will create 100 more high-quality early childhood programs, getting 600 more families and 1,000 more children ready for school, annually. It's a proven high-return investment that will produce long-lived benefits for the students and our economy. And our commitment and investment must continue throughout their schooling.

Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Montana legislature , Jan 30, 2013

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Page last updated: Jun 24, 2019