Iowa’s governor joined with the governor of Virginia this (Tuesday) afternoon to tape a “town hall” meeting about high school reform. Virginia Governor Mark Warner, the chairman of the National Governors Association, held similar broadcast forums in four other states before today’s event in Iowa. “When we look at the United States being 17th in the world in terms of graduation rates, when we look at the fact that 40 to 50 percent of our students who go on to college are not prepared for college work, when we look at the fact that we have surveyed over 12,000 high school students now in an on-line survey and they acknowledge that high school isn’t rigorous enough, we’ve got to do more,” Warner says. Governor Tom Vilsack has been pressing to make Iowa high schools “more rigorous and relevant” to ensure Iowa graduates can compete for jobs in a global economy. Warner says that’s the kind of “call to arms” he’s seeing across the country. According to Warner, the number of governors who list high school reform as a top priority has gone from three governors two years ago to 30 governors this year. The program Warner and Vilsack taped today will air Thursday night at nine on Iowa Public Television. In addition to the governors and top educators, the forum features 50 Iowa high schoolers. “Everybody’s ready for summer vacation kicking off (so) probably the mind-set of education reform is not tops on everybody’s agenda, but September’s right around the corner,” Warner says. Warner’s first and only term as Virginia’s governor ends at the end of this year because that state’s constitution imposes a term limit. Warner may be one of the Democrats who runs for president in 2008. You can hear more from and about Warner’s presidential ambitions tomorrow (Wednesday) on Radio Iowa.
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