MONTPELIER -- Gov. Peter Shumlin devoted his second inaugural address Thursday almost entirely to education, calling for stronger high school math requirements and for college tuition breaks for science, technology and math students.
"Success in the new economy depends on an educated workforce with skills beyond high school in science, computer technology, engineering and math," Shumlin told a House chamber packed with lawmakers, state officials, Vermont's congressional delegation and others.
"I ask you, 'Is Vermont prepared to meet this challenge? Are we ready to harness the opportunity so critical to our future prosperity?' The plain truth is we are not," the governor said.
As solutions, Shumlin called for strengthening education from preschool through college. His proposals included:
-- $17 million in new funding to help lower-income families with childcare, nearly double what the state spends now. "There is no bigger obstacle to Vermont parents who want to work or advance than the high cost of quality childcare," Shumlin said.
-- More money -- he didn't say how much -- for free school lunches for children from low-income households.
-- An expansion of a program that allows students to combine their senior year in high school with their first year of college. "For more than a decade, 40 students a year have done this at Vermont Tech, where they concentrate on science and technology with great success," Shumlin said. "Having only 40 kids in this program is a paltry number."