A student’s learning does not end at the school bell. Even though a child spends most of their time outside of the classroom, educators can keep students engaged by offering high-quality after-school programs to extend the learning day.
Governor Mark Dayton has proclaimed October 23 Lights on Afterschool Day, connecting Minnesota to a national celebration of after-school programming. More than 90 after-school programs throughout the state will host events on Thursday, and in recognition of this, the lights on the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge and the Lowry Avenue Bridge in Minneapolis will glow gold tomorrow evening. The iconic Empire State Building in New York City will shine with the same color that night, connecting the Midwest to celebrations across the country.
This will be the 15th annual Lights on Afterschool celebration, which is organized by The Afterschool Alliance, an organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of after-school programs and advocating for more investment in them.
ST. PAUL, MN — More than 40 schools statewide are participating in International Walk to School Day Wednesday, Oct. 8, to encourage students, parents, teachers, community members and organizations to get out on sidewalks and trails. The event is anticipated to draw participation from more than 4,000 schools from all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, as well as 40 countries around the world.
This event is an opportunity for families with children who typically ride a school bus, and who live in areas with bike friendly paths to school, to walk and bike to school. Many schools participate by arranging for school buses to drop off students at a nearby park or other safe locations to finish the trip on foot. The drop-off option also can be used for students who are usually driven to school in private vehicles.
“Participating with school children emphasizes the importance of increasing physical activity, teaching pedestrian safety, reducing traffic congestion and building connections between families, schools and communities,” -Nicole Campbell, Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School coordinator.
Last year's International Walk to School Day at Lyndale Community School in Minneapolis
ST. PAUL, MN – With the first month behind them, thousands of students across the state are settling into their classrooms for the 2014-15 school year. Governor Dayton visited Duluth today, meeting with kindergarten students and teachers at Congdon Park Elementary.
Since 2011, the Governor and the Minnesota Legislature have invested $895 million in schools. This year, more than 55,000 of Minnesota’s youngest learners will benefit from free all-day kindergarten, while others will benefit from high-impact initiatives designed to increase literacy and close the achievement gap.
“As Minnesota’s students and teachers return to the classroom, I wish them all a successful school year,” said Governor Dayton. “During the past four years, the Legislature and I have worked to make high-impact investments that will improve academic achievement and prepare our students for future success.”
Governor Dayton visits with all-day kindergarten students at Congdon Park Elementary School in Duluth
Students who master the fundamentals of reading at an early age are better prepared for future academic success. As our kids are exposed to more advanced concepts their ability to learn becomes increasingly linked to their literacy. In math classes, students may be asked to do word problems, while in a science or history class they may be assigned a reading out of a textbook – all of which require strong language skills.
To help our students develop the strong reading skills they need, we launched the bipartisan “Read Well by Third Grade” in 2011. Since then, we have invested $150 million in high-impact literacy programs that helping ensure all Minnesota students are developing the reading skills they need for academic success and bright futures.
Governor Dayton serves lunch to students alongside Coon Rapids staff.
Ensuring that Minnesota students are ready to learn when they enter the classroom is critical to improving academic progress and preparing kids for bright futures. To help guarantee that our students have access to healthy meals, we invested $4 million in school breakfast and lunch programs this year. In addition to ensuring no Minnesota student is denied access to a healthy meal at lunchtime, the funding also will provide all 64,000 Minnesota Kindergarten students breakfast.
“No child in Minnesota should be denied a healthy lunch,” said Governor Dayton. “We cannot expect our students to succeed on an empty stomach."
Access to higher education is crucial to ensure that Minnesota has a competitive workforce that is prepared to fill the jobs of the future. That is why the budget enacted by Governor Dayton and the legislature makes a significant investment in college affordability and improving our state colleges and universities. By investing $250 million in higher education, with $46 million going to direct financial aid for students, the budget brings the dream of a higher education within reach for even more Minnesotans.
Governor Dayton Mingles with Minnesota Youth
Governor Mark Dayton speaks with students from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
After nearly a decade of cuts to higher education funding, tuition skyrocketed at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU). From 2001 to 2014, tuition at the U of M more than doubled from $5,002 to $13,626 for state residents. Left unchecked, ever increasing tuition costs and increasing debt are a tax on the future of Minnesota students and a drag on our state’s economy.
Access to a high-quality education should be available to all Minnesotans and not just students who can afford to take on costly loans. In 2013, we froze tuition at the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU systems schools to halt the trend of double-digit cost hikes. This helped make college more affordable for 282,000 students.
Minnesotans agree that everyone who works hard in school deserves access to higher education. This tuition freeze begins to restore balance in Minnesota’s educational system. It also will help ensure our students for the future economy.
As Minnesota students return to the classroom, our littlest learners are set to benefit from some big new investments. In 2013, we made a historic investment in all-day Kindergarten, ensuring every Minnesota student has access, free of charge. After a year to get ready, all Minnesota schools are now offering all-day Kindergarten to our families this fall.
This investment is sure to make a big difference for our students. All-Day Kindergarten has a proven track record of success, preparing young learners for success in school.
“I’m in college because I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for my future, my kids, years from now. I’m also doing it because my family back home wants me to succeed. So it’s about me, it’s about my future, and it’s about my family back home.”
This is just one of the many voices represented in “Shaping your Future: Why Minnesota Families Choose College.” The Minnesota Department of Education partnered with Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) to produce this series of videos about the importance of planning for career and college. College students from all over Minnesota were interviewed about their experiences growing up, the challenges they faced, how they wanted their lives to be different from their parents’ lives, and how they felt they wanted more for themselves. Their stories are featured in individual 2-3 minute videos, and there are also stories on the importance of parental support when planning for college and career. Stop by MDE’s booth at the fair to check out the videos, or watch them on our YouTube page at http://bit.ly/mndeptedtv.
Governor Dayton meeting with the Cannon Falls High School Band
With the first day of school just weeks away for many districts, Governor Mark Dayton met yesterday with nearly 300 school superintendents from across Minnesota to discuss the status of education in our state. Governor Dayton reviewed the progress Minnesota has made over the last four years to reinvest in our schools, support our students and teachers, and ensure that all children have access to a world-class education.
“When I campaigned four years ago, I talked about a better Minnesota in general,” said Governor Dayton. “In particular, with education I said that I would set aside money and increase spending in real dollars for education every year, with no excuses and no exceptions. I’m proud and pleased to say that I’ve kept that promise.”
After a decade of stagnant funding and budget cuts, Governor Dayton has reinvested in our schools. Since taking office in 2011, Governor Dayton has invested $895 million in E-12 education, paid back all the $2.8 billion previously borrowed from our schools, and frozen tuition or increased financial aid for more than 482,000 Minnesota college students and graduates. These major investments will give Minnesota students the high-quality education they need to succeed in school and life and compete in today’s global economy.
Governor Dayton signs the Women's Economic Security Act, one of several laws now taking effect.
Governor Dayton is committed to improving state government – from investing in education and improving the state's infrastructure to taking steps to ensure high-quality health care. Through the work done in the 2014 legislative session, many great strides were made in keeping this promise. Here are ten of the laws and reforms signed by the Governor that are going into effect today:
Governor Dayton addresses a joint convention of the Minnesota legislature at his 2014 State of the State Address
Remarks of Governor Mark Dayton – As prepared for delivery
State of the State Address
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
When I ran for Governor four years ago, I promised “A Better Minnesota.” Tonight, I can report that the state of our State is better – much better -- than before. It’s better for us, and it’s better for those who will inherit it from us. But the economic growth and social progress we have achieved, also reminds us of the work we still have left to do.
Becoming a parent introduces a longer-term perspective. We begin to consider the effects of our actions not only on our own lives, but also on lives that will extend beyond ours.
Becoming a grandparent, as I did a year-ago, thanks to my terrific son and wonderful daughter-in-law, Eric and Cory Dayton, who are in the gallery tonight, adds another generation to that timeline. It also raises the stakes.
Somewhere down the road, my grandson and his generation will assess the state of the state we have left to them. They will decide whether we, through our actions or inactions, made their lives better. Let’s keep them in mind, as we choose our state’s path.
In my first State of the State, three years ago, I said, “I know what we must do to create that better future for all of us. To progress, we have to invest.
“We have to invest in more jobs. Invest in better education. In improved transportation. In the health of our citizens, our communities, and our environment. In the transformation of government services.”
In other words, we have to invest in growth, quality, and effectiveness.
JOBS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Well, we invested in jobs. Minnesota’s private sector and public sector both invested in jobs. We are blessed with so many outstanding businesses, located everywhere in our state, operating everywhere in the world – and who, during the past three years, rediscovered that they can be successful and profitable here in Minnesota. As a result, we have the 5th fastest growing economy in the country.
There are more than 2.8 million jobs in Minnesota today. More jobs than ever before in our state’s history. 150,000 more jobs than when I became Governor three years ago.
This economic growth is happening all over our state. A recent newspaper story was entitled, “Lots of jobs find a home on the prairie in southwestern Minnesota.” It said that, for example, Jackson County reported a 5 percent increase in jobs during 2013. The City of Jackson’s economic development coordinator is quoted saying that, “Everybody who is able to work, and willing, is probably employed.”
Jackson’s largest employer, AGCO, has doubled its workforce to more than 1,300. Nearby, HitchDoc, which manufactures automotive and farm equipment for 300 customers, has grown from a dozen employees to 140. “And I’m looking for another 30,” said the company’s owner, Brad Mohns. “I’m turning down work, because I can’t find enough employees.”
Some people believe there is no role for government in private sector expansion and job creation. To see that they’re mistaken, just look around Minnesota.
There would not be a new stadium under construction in Minneapolis without the financial support of the City and the State of Minnesota. 7500 construction workers will have jobs building that stadium over the next couple years. Over one-third of them will be people of color.
Located right next to the stadium will be a $400 million private sector development, the largest in a generation. It will provide office space for 5000 Wells Fargo employees, residential apartments, stores and shops, a hotel, and a new, two-block public park. Its construction will employ another 1000 Minnesotans. And that is just the beginning of the area’s revitalization.
Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of DEED, and Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Office of Higher Education, visited the Moorhead campus to highlight the governor’s support for expanding and improving the college’s Transportation Center.
Commissioners from two Minnesota state agencies visited Moorhead to show their support for $6.54 million in bonding that Gov. Mark Dayton is recommending for Minnesota State Community and Technical College (M State). M State is a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.
Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of DEED, and Larry Pogemiller, commissioner of the Office of Higher Education, visited the Moorhead campus to highlight the governor’s support for expanding and improving the college’s Transportation Center. Plans call for new and larger diesel technology labs that will accommodate modern diesel agriculture, construction and transportation equipment.
The upgraded and expanded center will enable automotive students to work on vehicles in groups of two instead of in groups of four, providing more hands-on training opportunity. Programs space focused on alternative fuels and hybrid power sources will also be created.
“The proposed improvements to the Transportation Center at M State will provide students with the up-to-date knowledge and hands-on experience they need to be successful in a rapidly changing job market,” Pogemiller said.
The Transportation Center upgrades are part of $233 million in bonding that Gov. Dayton is proposing in this legislative session for improvements at higher education institutions in Minnesota. The proposal includes funding for world-class labs and expanded classroom space at campuses around the state, including Lake Superior College in Duluth, Southeast Technical in Red Wing and Bemidji State University.
“The governor’s proposals are a wise investment that will help ensure that Minnesota keeps its competitive edge when it comes to preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow,” Commissioner Sieben said.
Thanks to new tax cuts enacted by Gov. Mark Dayton and the MN legislature, the Zuzeks family are expected to save about $160 this year and another $220 on their state taxes in 2014.
Paying for college tuition can cost Minnesota students and families tens of thousands of dollars every year. But a new college tuition tax deduction signed into law by Governor Dayton will help reduce that financial burden, saving 40,000 Minnesota college students an average $140 per year.
The Zuzeks of Hastings, Minnesota, were born to be teachers.
“From a young age, I always knew I wanted to be a teacher,” said Katie Zuzek, a senior at St. Mary’s University in Winona. “And in order to realize that dream, I knew I had to go to college – there wasn’t any other option.”
International Walk to School Day at Lyndale Community School in Minneapolis
The Minnesota Department of Transportation has announced the recipients of $4.8 million in federal grants for Safe Routes to School. The grants will support Safe Routes to School at 138 schools in 50 communities.
“These projects will help communities increase opportunities for children to walk and bike to school,” said MnDOT Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “More students walking and biking means less traffic on the road and in front of schools, improving safety and promoting healthier kids.”
Schools received grants in two categories:
MnDOT announced the available grants in December 2013. It received 85 applications and funded 60 applications. The total amount requested was $11.3 million.
All Safe Routes to School grants in this solicitation are federal funds. The infrastructure grant includes a 20 percent local match. Each infrastructure grant includes a resolution of support from the local governing body to ensure community support. No local match is required for planning assistance grants.
Since 2005, MnDOT awarded nearly $15.5 million in federal funds to communities to support Safe Routes to School. The majority of funding—$13.1 million—was awarded for infrastructure projects. The remainder was allocated for non-infrastructure items and activities.
This solicitation used the remaining federal Safe Routes to School funds. Federal funding for the program is now available through the new Transportation Alternatives Program. Safe Routes to School projects occur in all 50 states.
The list of grant recipients is below. More information is available at www.mndot.gov/saferoutes.
|Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson finger paints with children at Amanda Rupar’s Family Child Care in Sartell, Minn., to highlight growing participation in the Parent Aware quality rating system and recent investments in early childhood education|
Last year, Governor Dayton and the legislature worked together to invest in high-quality early learning opportunities. One of these newly implemented initiatives is Parent Aware, a program designed to rate different pre-k educational services. Based on a four star rating system, the program relies on voluntary evaluations of different day-care providers, and, through educational workshops, equips them with information on how to create a safe and stimulating day care environment. When looking for place to send their kids parents can simply go to the Parent Aware Website, and look up ratings.
The minimum standard for a 1 star ratting requires ongoing documentation of a child’s learning progress, while achievement of a four star rating takes much more: including sensitivity to cultural differences among children, evidence that lesson plans are tailored to the learning needs of individual students, and training for pre-k care for students with disabilities.
Minnesota’s Parent Aware rating system will help parents assess their options for childcare, but also encourage providers to become up to date on the latest techniques for encouraging early cognitive development.
The process of accreditation requires that providers frequently participate in workshops to learn about the latest research in early childhood education. This ensures that they remain up to date about the best approaches to early learning, and can continually revise their curriculum.
Getting ready for college or career school can be easier than you think. Visit the FAFSA website for more information.
Governor Dayton knows that providing all of our students access to affordable post-secondary education is vital to preparing all Minnesotans for great jobs for generations to come. Last year, Governor Dayton worked with the Legislature to increase financial aid for our students and freeze tuition at public colleges and universities. Now, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education encourages students to take advantage of the recently improved Free Application for Federal Student form (FAFSA) to access additional student aid.
The U.S. Department of Education improved the FAFSA by adding two new features to make the application simpler to complete and to encourage more Americans to get the education they need for bright futures. The new FAFSA Completion Tool and Financial Aid Toolkit make the application process straightforward, and help high school principals and counselors identify students who should complete the form. Here in Minnesota, the Office of Higher Education has ratcheted up its outreach efforts to help students and families complete the form.
FAFSA Reform – By the Numbers
23 minutes Time it takes to complete the FAFSA online
58% High school seniors completed the FAFSA in 2012-2013
70% High school seniors who completed the FAFSA that enrolled in college or university
Increasing educational opportunity for all Minnesotans is critical creating good jobs and bright futures. The Governor is dedicated to ensuring that Minnesotans have access to post-secondary education – making it easier to get financial aid will help achieve this important goal.
This blog post originally appeared on the Minnesota Department of Education website blogg[ed]MN.
Since taking office, Governor Mark Dayton has made a number of critical investments in early education. One significant investment came in 2011 when Governor Dayton and the Legislature invested $5.45 million in the Minnesota Reading Corps to expand the program and help more students gain access to one-on-one tutoring.
In fact, 30,000 students benefited from the Minnesota Reading Corps AmeriCorps individualized, one-on-one tutoring to kindergarten through third grade students and using proven literacy interventions last year.
And the best part is: It’s working.
Today, a new report shows that this work is resulting in big improvements for the state’s youngest learners.
The study, conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service, analyzed the impact of the Minnesota Reading Corps on improving student achievement in reading. It looked at a sample of 1,350 Minnesota students from Kindergarten through 3rd Grade, and followed their performance over a 16-week period in the 2012-2013 school year.
Check out some of these amazing highlights from the report:
Interested in reading more about the study? Here are some links to materials from today’s report:
New research shows the percentage of young Minnesotans enrolling in higher education has increased dramatically. Between 2003 and 2011, the rate increased from 68 percent to 78 percent – a 10 percent jump. This is great news for Minnesota’s fast growing economy, which depends on a highly educated workforce.
To make further progress, last year Governor Dayton and the Legislature made the largest investment in student aid in a generation. This investment was important and urgent because Minnesota students borrow more money for education than the national average. This was a huge step in making more financial aid available for the students of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Measures: 2014 Report on Higher Education Performance also shows that 71 percent of first-time, full-time undergraduates depend on grants and scholarships to pay for their education. Commissioner Larry Pogemiller said the increasing enrollment of recent graduates shows the importance of the Minnesota State Grant, which provides need-based grants to over 100,000 Minnesotans.
Photo credit: Flickr user ndboy
Bees are receiving their share of the spotlight during this year’s legislative session. Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal recommends investing $12 million in the University of Minnesota Bee research laboratory, which will foster the expansion of agriculture research and help revitalize Minnesota’s bee population.
The work of pollinators is vital to the health of numerous fruits, vegetables, and crops worldwide, accounting for one in every three bites of food. These busy insects improve the vitality of nearly half of Minnesota’s entire crop production, which translates to thousands of jobs. Overall, Minnesota’s farm and foods sectors generate $74 billion in annual economic activity for our state – helping to sustain communities across the state. The declining population is a growing concern, and Governor Dayton’s recommendation is a promising investment for thousands of Minnesota farmers.
Last Friday, Governor Mark Dayton traveled to the University of Minnesota - Duluth to have a conversation with students, faculty, and staff about recent investments Minnesota’s future. In 2013, the Governor worked closely with the Legislature to make major investments in job creation, property tax relief, and education. Governor Dayton’s budget invests $86.5 million in job creation efforts that will leverage $1.5 billion in private sector investment – creating thousands of good jobs. But, they didn’t stop there – they worked to provide middle class Minnesotans $400 million in needed property tax relief.
Click on the map to enlarge - click here to download the map as an Adobe .PDF.
Governor Dayton’s bonding proposal is focused on making the kind of long term investments proven to create jobs. The bill would put up to 27,000 Minnesotans back to work by investing in improvements in infrastructure, our colleges and universities, and many other regional economic development projects.
The proposal also includes additional projects of statewide and regional importance, including investments in water, natural resources, and other important services for Minnesotans. See the attached document for a breakdown of regional highlights in the Governor’s Bonding Proposal.
Amount in Millions
Airline Terminal Expansion,
||The Governor recommends $2 million for a grant to the International Falls–Koochiching County Airport Commission to be used as the local match to federal funds to construct a new airline terminal facility located in International Falls. The total project cost is $11.3 million.
||The Governor recommends $5 million for a grant to the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority to demolish the existing terminal and to construct a new passenger terminal and boarding bridge, and associated equipment at the Range Regional Airport. A local match is required.
NorShor Theatre Historic Renovation, Duluth
||The Governor recommends $6.95 million for a grant to the Duluth Economic Development Authority for renovations to the NorShor Arts Center. The state bond proceeds would be used specifically to facilitate skywalk and handicapped accessibility and provide public access to the newly renovated NorShor Arts Center. The total project cost is $22.35 million.
Northland Community & Technical College Aviation Maintenance Facility, Thief River Falls
||The Governor recommends $3.909 million to address the future needs of the Unmanned Aerial Systems and Imagery Analyst programs. This project includes demolition and replacement of technical space to meet program objectives and industry requirements.
Road Repair, Second Street South, Fosston
||The Governor recommends $400,000 for a grant to the City of Fosston to reconstruct Second Street South, bringing the road to a 10-ton capacity to accommodate both residential and farm-to-market traffic. The total project cost is $1.3 million.
MN State Community and Technical College, Moorhead Transportation Center, Moorhead
||The Governor recommends $4.363 million to expand the Transportation Center on the Moorhead campus. New labs for the diesel technology program will accommodate larger and more modern diesel agriculture, construction and transportation equipment, and will relieve unsafe congestion in the existing laboratories.
Central Lakes College, Staples
||The Governor recommends $3.054 million to renovate the Staples campus. Core student service functions will be right-sized and reconfigured into a one-stop service center. Additionally, the facility energy systems will be upgraded to include photovoltaic solar panels and energy efficient windows and doors.
River's Edge Convention Center, St. Cloud
||The Governor recommends $11.56 for a grant to the City of St. Cloud to complete an expansion of the St. Cloud River’s Edge Convention Center. The total project cost is approximately $39 million with $26 million already spent.
South Hawk Creek Business Park, Clara City
||The Governor recommends $748,000 for a grant to Clara City for local road construction and water and sewer improvements to a new business park. The total project cost is $1.5 million.
Southwest Regional Sports Center, Marshall
||The Governor recommends $4.298 million in state bonding to construct a southwest regional sports center in Marshall, Minnesota. The sports center would feature two ice sheets that could be converted to volleyball/basketball courts as well as ten outdoor athletic fields that could be used for soccer, lacrosse, rugby, football, and other field sports.
Lewis & Clark Regional Water System, Luverne
||The Governor recommends $20.203 million for a grant to the Lewis and Clark Joint Powers Board for Phase 1 of the Lewis & Clark Regional Water System project. Phase 1 will deliver water to the City of Luverne in December 2015. The total project cost is $70.564 million, and it is a three-phase project.
Minnesota State Arena, Mankato
||The Governor recommends $14.5 million for a grant to the City of Mankato for renovating and expanding the Minnesota State Arena and Events Center. The project’s total cost is $32 million.
Mayo Civic Center, Rochester
||The Governor recommends $37 million for a grant to the City of Rochester for the expansion and remodeling of the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester. The total project cost is $81.1 million.
Winona State University, Winona
||The Governor recommends $3.935 million to begin work on Phase I of the Education Village renovation project. The predesign plan includes the reuse of three buildings that will be renovated into space that integrates specialty labs and classrooms for all education programs.
Minnesota State College, SE Technical, Red Wing / Winona
||The Governor recommends $1.133 million to renovate carpentry classroom space on the Red Wing campus and medical lab space and welding lab space on the Winona campus. The projects will modernize space, convert storage space into classroom space, provide multi-use space that will serve all academic programs of the college, and assist the campuses with better meeting industry standards.
Minnesota Children's Museum, Saint Paul
||The Governor recommends $14 million for a grant to the City of St. Paul to expand and renovate the Minnesota Children’s Museum. The total project cost is $28 million.
TCAAP (Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant), Arden Hills
||The Governor recommends $29 million for a grant to Ramsey County for improvements to bridges and roadways near the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant (TCAAP) site. A local match is required.
Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
||The Governor recommends $20 million for a grant to the City of Minneapolis for the revitalization of the Nicollet Mall. The project will rebuild Nicollet Mall from building face to building face and will include pedestrian, roadway, and transitway improvements. The total project cost is estimated to be approximately $53 million.
Minnesota State Capitol Restoration, Saint Paul
||The Governor recommends $126.3 million to complete the restoration of the State Capitol Building. The Capitol Resoration project includes repairs to the deteriorating building façade and modernization of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, life-safety, security and telecommunication systems.
Click here to download the map as an Adobe .PDF.
To see the full list of the Governor's bonding recommendations, please visit this page.