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Countdown to Learning: STARBASE Minnesota is helping create next generation of engineers

Posted on November 04, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Education


You can find more STARBASE Minnesota videos on their Youtube channel here.

We all know science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) are incredibly important to Minnesota’s economy. Right now, Minnesota simply isn’t producing enough engineers and scientists to meet the demand. One Minnesota non-profit is working to change that.

STARBASE Minnesota is working to foster an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math in elementary school kids. Their innovative program exposes Minnesota students to exciting science experiments, model rocket launches, and high-tech engineering software. 

When children arrive at STARBASE’s Fort Snelling location for the weeklong program, staff greet them wearing blue flight suits ready to take them in to a hands on world of science based learning. The organization isn’t just sparking a brief interest in science either. A recent study by the Wilder Foundation found that kids that participate in the program are more likely to graduate from high school on time, attend college, and pursue a career in a STEM field.

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Helping Part-Time College Students Succeed

Posted on October 21, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education

Photo Credit: Flickr user Pete Sieger, Normandale Community College

Photo Content: Flickr User Pete Sieger; Normandale Community College 

We all know that education is critical to a bright future. In fact, by 2018 an estimated 70 percent of Minnesota jobs will require some education beyond high school. And right now, only 40 percent of Minnesotans hold postsecondary degrees. Closing this higher education gap is critical to helping all Minnesotans get great jobs in the future and growing our economy.

However, the rising cost of higher education is putting college out of reach for many.  Right now, Minnesota had the third highest student debt rate in the United States with the average graduate leaving school with $29,800 in debt. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature improved Minnesota’s State Grant Program to help all of our students get an affordable education.

 

 


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Freezing Tuition at Public Colleges and Universities

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Categories: Education

Governor Dayton speaks with college students
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 2012, tuition at the U of M more than doubled from $5,002 to $11,094 for state residents! 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. This year, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature froze tuition at the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU systems schools to halt the trend of double-digit cost hikes.

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.

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College and Career Readiness

Posted on October 17, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education, Jobs, Economy

Photo Content: Flickr User J. Stephen Conn
Photo Content: Flickr User J. Stephen Conn; Minnesota State University, Moorhead

Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce found that 70 percent of all jobs in Minnesota will require at least some postsecondary education by 2018. To meet those growing demand for an educated workforce, Governor Mark Dayton and the DFL Legislature enacted real reforms to ensure Minnesota kids are prepared for the good jobs of tomorrow.

To build a world-class workforce, they invested in initiatives proven to make a big impact like early-childhood education and all-day, every-day kindergarten. Investments like these will help close Minnesota’s achievement and improve our economy for years to come.

Critically, the Governor and legislature also worked to reform testing. Minnesota will replacing the GRAD test with a new test that is similar to the ACT, which will do a better job of indicating whether our students are prepared for college or careers.

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Minnesota Breakfast Challenge

Posted on October 09, 2013 at 1:45 PM
Categories: Lt. Gov. Prettner Solon, Health, Education

Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon talks with students at Pillsbury Elementary School

Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon talks with kids at Pillsbury Elementary School in Minneapolis

Today, Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon served breakfast at Pillsbury Elementary in Minneapolis to raise awareness of child hunger and its impact on education.  She explained that more than 200,000 Minnesota children experience hunger every year. And research shows, that poor nutrition among school age children directly relates to poorer class performance, more days of missed school, and declining academic achievement.

To increase access to free and reduced price breakfast, the State of Minnesota is partnering with Hunger Free Minnesota, the Midwest Dairy Council, and the Children’s Defense Fund of Minnesota to create the first-ever Minnesota School Breakfast Challenge. The challenge will reward the top 30 Minnesota schools with $0.10 for every new breakfast served beyond what was served last year.



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Governor Dayton Visits Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s Remodeled Healthcare Facilities

Posted on October 04, 2013 at 11:35 AM
Categories: Education, Budget, Technology, Jobs

 Governor Dayton talks with MCTC students

Governor Dayton talks to MCTC students abour their new state-of-the-art training facility.

 

Yesterday, Governor Mark Dayton visited Minneapolis Community and Technical College’s (MCTC) brand new nursing and allied health care facilities. The Governor’s 2012 bonding bill provided $13.4 million for the renovation efforts – allowing the school to consolidate and modernize lab space for its nursing, phlebotomy and electroneurodiagnostic technology programs. The new space also emulates a hospital setting to better prepare students for future employment.

When Minnesota invests in infrastructure projects like this one, we also are making critical investments in people. These newly upgraded facilities will provide future nurses and other health care professionals access to state-of-the-art training that will prepare them for success in their careers.


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New Summer Nudging Initiative Increasing College Enrollment

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 10:58 AM
Categories: Education

Students learning in a classroom.

Students who sign up to be part of the Summer Nudging initiative get text messages reminders for college application deadlines

Incoming college students not only face academic challenges, but also often struggle simply to navigate the required paperwork. New students must fill out forms for financial aid, registration, housing, courses, and meal plans. For first-generation college students without a parent or guardian already familiar with the system – the mounting paperwork can present a major barrier to higher education.

To help our incoming college students, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education started its “Summer Nudging” initiative to help guide students through the process. Students who sign up for the program get regular text message reminders with dates and deadlines for critical registration paperwork.


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Shopping for school supplies? Save your receipts!

Posted on August 08, 2013 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education

Keeping school supply receipts can lead to valuable tax credits
Kindergarten students find something to laugh about during a classroom exercise. Photo credit: Flickr user Woodly Wonderworks.

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Heading to the store for back-to-school shopping? Don’t forget to save receipts from all of your school supply purchases. Doing so could qualify parents and guardians for tax credits or subtractions on your 2013 state income tax returns.

There are two tax options that help Minnesota families pay expenses related to their child’s education: the refundable K-12 education credit and the K-12 education subtraction. Both programs reduce the tax parents must pay and could provide a larger refund when filing a 2013 Minnesota Individual Income Tax Return. To qualify, you must have purchased educational services or required materials during 2013 to assist with your child’s education. Your child also must be attending kindergarten through 12th grade at a public, private or home school.

“The list of required school supplies continues to grow each year,” said Revenue Commissioner Myron Frans. “These supplies are a necessary part of school and saving your receipts now will save you money later.”

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FastTRAC Initiative paves the way for hard working Minnesotans

Posted on July 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Education, Jobs

Minnesota FastTRAC Initiative
The Minnesota FastTRAC Initiative provides a route for students to advance their careers while providing for their families.

In March of 2012, Patricia Rice found herself moving to Anoka County, leaving behind life in a shelter. As a single mother trying to support her two children, Patricia met with a Minnesota Family Investment Program job counselor where she was able to find a job in a nursing home. She enjoyed the job, but needed something that could further sustain her family and help the community.

Patricia then learned about the Minnesota FastTRAC Initiative, which would lead her toward her goal of becoming a certified nursing assistant. 

The road to a degree can be difficult. Patricia found herself trying to balance her school and work, keeping a roof over her children’s heads. Thankfully, Minnesota FastTRAC provides understanding instructors and specially placed “navigators” who work with students to efficiently comprehend course materials. The Minnesota FastTRAC professors are determined to see their students succeed and move on into sustaining jobs.

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An Education Secretary's View of Minnesota

Posted on July 22, 2013 at 11:25 AM
Categories: Education

Governor Dayton and Secretary Duncan at the Education Town Hall
Governor Dayton and Secretary Duncan at the Education Town Hall Meeting

The best ideas to put children on a path to school success rarely come from Washington, D.C.

President Obama has put forward a plan to make high-quality preschool affordable for all children — a vital step in putting young people on a path to a thriving middle class. As I saw firsthand in a pair of visits in the Minneapolis area on Tuesday, that effort builds on the work of states like Minnesota.

The day began at Pond Early Childhood Family Center in Bloomington, where I sat with students who sang a song, recited the alphabet and discussed some of their favorite words. The visit was an inspiring example of great educators helping kids get ready for kindergarten in a setting of joy and support.

Later Tuesday, Gov. Mark Dayton, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, and other leaders from business, the military, government and the clergy, joined a town-hall discussion at Kennedy Senior High School. At that town hall, parents, teachers, education leaders and others from throughout the state made clear that they have seen the power of early learning — and that they know we must reach many more children.
That understanding did not emerge from Washington. Forward-looking states have led the way — including Minnesota, where Dayton this year signed a bill that invests nearly $200 million in early learning, helping tens of thousands more children attend high-quality child care, preschool and all-day kindergarten.

Minnesota has made a priority of preschool through an Office of Early Learning, a Children’s Cabinet and an Early Learning Council, which together ensure that the cradle-to-career continuum begins with a strong start. In addition, as a winner of a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant, Minnesota is creating systems and infrastructure that offer new ideas to other states.

Minnesota’s work represents real progress for families and children in the face of great need. The state’s new investments will reach about 8,000 children over two years, but that leaves many 3- and 4-year-olds — some 35,000 of them — without access to high-quality early learning opportunities. And that’s why we need to work hard, in Minnesota and across the country, to reach so many more students.

Why? Because of the pivotal role that quality preschool education can play in a child’s life. Studies confirm what every teacher knows: Young children who experience secure, stimulating environments with rich learning opportunities from an early age are better prepared to thrive in school. They reap benefits in high school graduation rates and employment, and are less likely to commit crimes.


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