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Education Department Announces Series of Statewide Meetings

Posted on December 06, 2011 at 1:09 PM
Categories: Education, Commerce, Environment

Today the Minnesota Department of Education announced a series of statewide public meetings to provide information about Minnesota’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver request.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and MDE staff will embark on a statewide tour to present information about Minnesota’s waiver request and plans for a new accountability system that will more accurately and fairly measure schools progress.

“While the goals of NCLB are noble and some aspects of the law have been effective, it’s clear Minnesota can, and must do better,” said Commissioner Cassellius. “That’s why Governor Dayton has taken the lead in making Minnesota one of the first states to create an accountability system that is more responsive to the needs of our students, our schools and our state. These meetings will provide the public an opportunity to hear about Minnesota's waiver request, ask questions and offer feedback.”

The first meetings will be held in Rochester on December 7 and in St. Cloud on December 14. To read the full announcement and for more information about the waiver request, click here.


Governor Dayton receives 2011 Friend of Education Award

Posted on December 02, 2011 at 10:03 AM
Categories: Education

Today the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) awarded Governor Dayton their 2011 Friend of Education Award. The award is given to Minnesota leaders who demonstrate exceptional support and leadership in advocating for public education. Governor Dayton accepted the award and spoke this morning at AMSD's monthly meeting.

According to AMSD:

Governor Dayton exhibited strong support for public education throughout the 2011 legislative session beginning with his budget proposal which called for increased investments in education even in the face of a major state budget shortfall.


“The Governor kept his campaign promise to invest in education every year he was governor even though the state faced a projected $6.2 billion budget shortfall when he had to submit his budget. His support for public education did not waiver during a very challenging legislative session,” said AMSD Executive Director Scott Croonquist.


Governor Dayton Establishes Task Force to Address School Bullying

Posted on November 29, 2011 at 4:48 PM
Categories: Education

Today, Governor Dayton announced the formation of a Task Force to address the serious problem of bullying in our schools.

He was joined by Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Public Safety Commissioner Mona Doman, Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey, Rep. Jim Davnie, Sen. Scott Dibble and anti-bullying advocate Tammy Aaberg.    

“Bullying causes severe suffering and harm to the children, who are its victims; and we must do more to stop it.  Children and parents in Minnesota should have confidence that their schools are safe places for learning and are free of harm or intimidation.  The work of this Task Force is critical to ensuring that a healthy and nurturing school environment exists for every child in our state," said Governor Dayton.

The task force will be made up of no more than 15 members, to be appointed by Governor Dayton through the open appointments process.  Members of the taskforce will include the Commissioners of the Department of Education, the Department of Human Rights, the Department of Public Safety and members of the legislature.  The Governor will also appoint additional members with experience or expertise in psychology, education, pediatrics and anti-bullying advocacy.


Minnesota Ranks Second in Nationwide Opportunity Index

Posted on November 28, 2011 at 2:39 PM
Categories: Education, Jobs, Economy

Opportunity Nation ranked Minnesota 2nd in the nation today in a new index that measures how effectively individuals can move up the economic ladder, according to Northland's NewsCenter.

The Opportunity Index ranked all 50 states using indicators such as the unemployment rate, poverty rate, on-time graduation rate, and others to assign a first of its kind Opportunity Score. Minnesota earned an Opportunity Score of 81.2 out of 100.

According to the announcement, Minnesota earned high marks:

Minnesota outperformed almost every other state in the union, earning an Opportunity Score of 81.2 out of 100.   A few of the highlights that helped set Minnesota apart include:

- Weathering the Economic Downturn: During a time when a majority of the country is struggling to make ends meet, Minnesota’s residents earn a slightly higher on average income than most Americans ($57,007 vs. $51,425).  In addition, their statewide poverty rate is just over 10% compared to the national average of 13.47% and their unemployment rate is significantly lower than the national unemployment rate (7.4% vs. 9.1%, respectfully).


Education Commissioner Cassellius, Higher Ed Director Pogemiller highlight College Application Week

Posted on November 18, 2011 at 10:01 AM
Categories: Education

Yesterday, Education Commissioner Dr. Brenda Cassellius and Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller visited Irondale High School for College Application Week — an initiative designed to engage and inform students across the state about the college application process.

All Minnesota high schools can participate in College Application Week, and seventeen Minnesota high schools have indicated they are planning to pilot a program, with the assistance of trained school staff and volunteers, that aims to assist all their seniors in completing a college application. Irondale High School in New Brighton is one of 17 Minnesota high schools piloting a program this year to increase the number of college applicants.


Caption: Irondale High School students meet with Commissioner Cassellius (second from right) during her visit to to Irondale High School for College Application Week. State Representative Kate Knuth, an Irondale alumna, also visited with students.


Governor Dayton proclaims Minnesota College Application Week

Posted on November 14, 2011 at 1:07 PM
Categories: Education

Governor Dayton has proclaimed this week, November 14-18, 2011, as Minnesota College Application Week, to acknowledge and highlight the importance of high school students being prepared to apply to college.

College Application Week is an initiative designed to engage and inform students across the state about the college application process, according to the Minnesota Department of Education.The primary goal at the high school level is to increase the number of students completing a college application, especially first-generation college applicants.

During this week many Minnesota colleges and universities will accept an application fee waiver for those students with a demonstrated financial need in order to ensure that no student is deprived of the opportunity to pursue admission to the institution(s) of their choice due to financial hardship.

All Minnesota high schools may participate in this initiative, and seventeen Minnesota high schools have indicated they are planning to pilot a program, with the assistance of trained school staff and volunteers, that aims to assist all their seniors in completing a college application.


Minnesota Students Leading the Nation in Math Scores

Posted on November 01, 2011 at 12:07 PM
Categories: Education

Minnesota’s grade-school students are leading the nation in overall math scores, according to “The Nation’s Report Card”, which was released today. Minnesota’s fourth and eighth graders scored significantly higher than the national average, continuing a trend of excellence in both reading and math scores. The high scores are encouraging, but a sense of urgency is created by the fact that Minnesota’s scores remained flat as compared to 2009.


Minnesota Recognized for Progress in Teacher Evaluation

Posted on October 31, 2011 at 1:24 PM
Categories: Education

Minnesota’s new teacher-evaluation law, passed during the 2011 legislative session, is one of 17 state plans being lauded by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that advocates for reform to teacher training, evaluation and compensation.

As reported by MinnPost today, the Minnesota law was applauded for meeting most of the goals set forth by NCTQ through its approach to more strongly factor student achievement into teacher ratings. As seen in the full report:

“The move to rethink how to evaluate teachers and explicitly tie assessments of teacher performance to student achievement marks an important shift in thinking about teacher quality,”


Senator Pogemiller Appointed as Director of Office of Higher Education

Posted on October 31, 2011 at 11:33 AM
Categories: Education

On Friday, Governor Dayton appointed Senator Larry Pogemiller as the new Director of the Office of Higher Education. Senator Pogemiller has been a leading voice in higher education issues through more than three decades of service in the Minnesota Senate.

Senator Pogemiller’s district includes the University of Minnesota campus. The Star Tribune reported that Governor Dayton emphasized Pogemiller’s opportunity to reshape higher education policy.

"Senator Pogemiller is one of the smartest, most talented, and most dedicated people I have ever met in public service,” Said Governor Dayton.  “He brings unparalleled experience and expertise in the legislative process and in public policy issues.  He is the perfect choice for the Office of Higher Education at this critical juncture for higher education in Minnesota.”  


Governor Dayton attends groundbreaking for new science and engineering building in St. Cloud

Posted on October 27, 2011 at 3:10 PM
Categories: Education, Jobs, Technology

Today, Governor Mark Dayton attended the groundbreaking of a new Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility building on the St. Cloud State University campus.  The new building was funded as a part of the 2011 bonding bill.  Construction of a state of the art science and engineering building will create over 1400 jobs and its presence on campus will ensure that St. Cloud State students are well-prepared for the jobs of the future for decades to come.

The 100,000 square-foot research and teaching facility will house classrooms and labs which are slated to serve high-level science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medical technology, and radiology classes.  It is estimated that 11% of the new jobs created in Minnesota by 2019 will be in the science and technology sectors.  This new facility will help accommodate a 20% increase in enrollment in Science and Engineering majors at St. Cloud State.  Additionally, the research done in this new facility can be used to support Minnesota companies and spur further innovations. 
The new building is slated to open in the fall of 2013.


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