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
Worthington is proudly known for its annual “King Turkey Day,” but this southwestern Minnesota town will now be rolling out the red carpet for another tasty bird. Next month, the 2014 Governor’s Pheasant Opener will be held in Worthington, which offers hunters several thousand acres of prime public land.
This year’s Worthington Opener is expected to be a productive one for Minnesota hunters. The 2014 Pheasant hunting survey shows that southwestern Minnesota is expected to have some of the best conditions across the state this fall.
However, hunting is hardly the only fun activity available to visitors. The Worthington area is home to great fishing, biking, and hiking opportunities as well, and for those looking for a less rigorous vacation, Worthington and surrounding communities offer great restaurants, golf courses, and museums.
Governor Mark Dayton today took a series of executive actions to protect children in Minnesota from the threat of abuse and neglect. These efforts include both immediate changes to the child protection system, and the establishment of a new Governor’s Task Force on the Protection of Children. The Task Force, appointed by the Governor, will make specific recommendations for comprehensive improvements to the child protection system in the upcoming 2015 Legislative Session.
“The abuse of any child in Minnesota is one child too many,” said Governor Dayton. “No child should have to suffer from the violence or neglect of a family member or other adult. I look forward to the recommendations of this new Task Force, and I urge the Legislature to act on them in January.”
Minnesota ranks among the top five states in child well-being. Still, in recent years some children have fallen through the cracks of the child protection system, suffering maltreatment and even death from violent abuse. The executive actions taken by Governor Dayton today will strengthen protections for children, and enhance the accountability and vigilance of state and local child protection systems.
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.