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From Start to Finish: An Analysis of State Speeches, Education Priorities, and Key Adoptions in 2013

Annual State of the State and budget addresses delivered by governors hold particular promise for such analysis. While state policy is, by its very nature, idiosyncratic (e.g., variable legislative sessions, differences in the make-up of legislative bodies, and unique regulatory and other administrative agencies), State of the State speeches are remarkably consistent features, representing one of the few formats utilized by high-ranking state officials regularly to identify priorities in a common format at a single point in time. For example, in 2013, every governor made an address, and nearly three-quarters of speeches were delivered in January; all but two speeches occurred by mid-February. This analysis builds and expands on existing, narrative summaries of State of the State speeches, such as those reported by Education Week or developed by policy organizations and national membership groups, to test the applicability of straightforward quantitative measures of the content and influence of these speeches.