Governor Sununu emphasizes school infrastructure fund, STEM, and school choice in State of the State address

In his State of the State address, Governor Sununu outlined his 2018 policy priorities, which included the Public School Infrastructure Fund, STEM, and school choice. Here is a part of the transcript, from the Union Leader:

[As] a parent of three young children, and given yesterday’s senseless tragedy in Florida, I know that if we can’t put our kids on the school bus and know they are safe, nothing else matters.

I advocated for a new Public School Infrastructure Fund – which is investing nearly $20million in state funds directly to communities in making long overdue infrastructure upgrades and security upgrades.

For example, WE provided funding directly to Berlin Public Schools to secure the main entrance of the high school and the preschool program.

In Salem, the middle school will now have exterior door card readers installed to secure the rear and side entrance of the building.

And in Dover, a new surveillance system will allow the school’s main office to monitor all points of entry and the playground area.

In the end, close to 300 schools across the state will receive security funding grants.

Our goal is simple – to make New Hampshire’s schools the safest in the nation.

Our commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of New Hampshire’s children goes beyond the four walls of a classroom.

Last year, I proposed the Governor’s Scholarship Fund – a scholarship program built around the students, not the institutions. This scholarship program is designed not to help just 10, 20, or 100 students, but up to 1,000 students each year and will open workforce gateways for the next generation.

Never before has an opportunity like this been offered to New Hampshire students.

But we didn’t stop there – After I took office, I sat down with FIRST Robotics Founder Dean Kamen – and we talked about what could be done at the state level to promote STEM in schools. Dean founded FIRST 26 years ago, right here in New Hampshire, but support had never been provided at the state level.

So we changed that, and put nearly $1million into a transformative initiative – the Robotics Education Fund – so that every public school in New Hampshire has the same opportunity to inspire the next generation of engineers.

And to quote Dean: The kids don’t build the robots, the robots build the kids.

FIRST Robotics is a perfect example of driving innovative school programs today to create the workforce of tomorrow

So today, building on the momentum we’ve created with our STEM initiatives, I am proud to announce The Governor’s Cup – a collaborative partnership between The University System of New Hampshire, the Community College System, and FIRST Robotics

This competitive annual Robotics Competition will be open to students and teams from across the state for college credit, and each senior on the winning team will receive a tuition free semester at a school of their choosing within the University or Community College System.

We need to send a signal to budding engineers, scientists, and mathematicians across the state that their passion is a priority that we all share.

Programs like these build upon what our world-class public schools can offer students.

Surprisingly, I am the first Governor in the past 25 years to come up through New Hampshire’s public schools. Our schools are ranked the best in the country, because they deliver results. I believe in Teachers. I believe in the students.

However, I think we can all agree that a one-size-fits all system doesn’t always work for each student, which is why our education system must give parents choice and flexibility.

Education Savings Accounts will be our most significant step yet, in giving parents and children the ability to choose the education path that is best suited for them.

Joining us in the gallery today are Shalimar and Angel Encarnacion of Manchester. Like many families, Angel started in public school – and even had an individualized education plan – but it just wasn’t for him.

Shalimar and Angel were frustrated as Angel struggled.

Shalimar decided Angel needed to try a different learning environment. With the help of an educational scholarship grant, Angel was given the opportunity to try a different school – and he thrived.

Today, Angel is at the top of his class, exploring college opportunities, and aspires to a distinguished military career in the United States Naval Special Forces.

Shalimar and Angel are trailblazers for the state. Thank you both for being here today. Proof positive that choice works.

Source: Transcript: Gov. Chris Sununu delivers 2018 State of the State address | Union Leader