State of technology update

Hawaii: Gov. Benjamin Cayetano

In his Jan. 22 speech, Cayetano proposed spending $21 million to buy 18,000 new computers for public schools, dropping the student-to-computer ratio from 6-to-1 to 4-to-1. He said the Internet would help students "open doors of learning and knowledge" and teach them critical thinking skills.

In higher education, he proposed building a new University of Hawaii medical school to be the foundation for the state's health-care and biotechnology industries. The first phase would cost $141 million, but he said the biotechnology industry potentially could bring more than $50 million into the state annually. Also, he asked the legislature again to appropriate $1 million each to the university's engineering, international business, medicine and high-technology training schools.

The governor also proposed building a science and technology center on an undeveloped, state-owned parcel in urban Honolulu to showcase the state's strengths in astronomy, ocean marine sciences, biotechnology and volcanology.

South Carolina: Gov. Jim Hodges

On Jan. 17, Hodges applauded the state's recent vote approving a statewide lottery that would fund education projects. The education plan would include offering classroom technology, a free technical education for anyone at any age, college scholarships and master's degree programs for teachers who want to upgrade their skills. Hodges also mentioned an initiative to make high-speed Internet access affordable in rural communities.

Oregon: Gov. John Kitzhaber

Kitzhaber called education "the single most important and far-reaching investment we can make in Oregon's future." In his Jan. 8 speech, the governor mentioned instituting the Quality Education Model, which among other things would involve investments in engineering education and biotechnology research.

Utah: Gov. Mike Leavitt

In his speech Jan. 16, Leavitt reminded constituents that Utah is on its way to providing high-speed Internet services to every Utah household. "You can register your car or buy your hunting license online," Leavitt said. "And all this takes a smaller percentage of our paychecks than eight years ago, causing financial publications to designate Utah as the best-managed state in America."

The governor said he wants to double in five years and triple in eight years the number of engineering, computer science and technology graduates in Utah. That would involve grooming students in math and technology skills before college, and retaining good math and technology teachers. He proposed a one-time bonus up to $20,000 on top of salaries for teachers who stay in Utah schools for four years.

For economic development, Leavitt cited the formation of the Utah Silicon Valley Alliance to attract high-tech companies to Utah and nurture start-ups.

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