Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is continuing his efforts to build a Better Minnesota. The Dayton Administration is taking note of what has been accomplished so far while still considering the work that is yet to be done.
One important component of building a Better Minnesota is supporting a clean and healthy environment. Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 lakes and a state where people care about the health and integrity of our natural resources. A healthy environment is central to the quality of life that all Minnesotans enjoy, and a crucial component in the success of our economy. Governor Dayton is committed to protecting and improving our natural resources, and leaving a legacy of clean water, cleaner air, and better parks and trails for future generations of Minnesotans.
For years, the Minnesota River has been considered one of the most polluted rivers in the state. But collaborative efforts across agencies have made important progress toward improving the health of the river.
Recent testing from the Pollution Control Agency showed marked improvements in dissolved oxygen, phosphorus, and chlorophyll levels. That means conditions have improved to support the health of fish and aquatic species populations in the river.
More work must be done to reduce sediment, bacteria, nutrients, and other contaminants in the river. But the work of over 40 wastewater treatment plants and other clean up efforts have put the Minnesota River on the path to recovery.
On February 1, Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, visited the North St. Paul-Maplewood Oakdale ISD 622, to celebrate February as “I Love to Read” Month. The Governor and Commissioner, along with Read It, enjoyed story time with the Kindergartners and third graders.
Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished thus far, and considering the work that still remains to be done.
One crucial measure of that progress is ensuring Minnesotans have the education and skills they need to achieve their goals. Building a better Minnesota starts with giving our children and workforce a world-class education, and the skills they need to succeed in a global economy.
That is why Governor Dayton is strongly committed to providing more funding for K-12 classrooms and early childhood education, increasing per pupil spending, and making college more affordable for Minnesotans. Governor Dayton is also focused on helping working Minnesotans access the education and workforce training they need to compete and succeed in today’s economy.
In 2011, Governor Dayton invested more than $55 million in early literacy. The Department of Education worked with every school district to develop local literacy plans that outline how curriculum, instruction, and assessments will be used to improve third grade reading scores.
Early results of this key investment are promising: In 2012, student in grades 3-8 made substantial overall gains in reading, with notable progress among American Indian and Hispanic students.
Today, Governor Dayton congratulated Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and the state Department of Education (MDE) for reducing excessive paperwork on Minnesota’s special education teachers. The reduction will enable educators to spend much less time filling out forms and much more time in the classroom teaching children with special needs.
Governor Dayton proclaims October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the State of Minnesota
Breast cancer touches the lives of many Minnesotans and according to the National Cancer Institute, will affect one in every eight women, with most having no family history of the disease. An increasing number of women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. When diagnosed early, breast cancer is highly treatable and the best way to detect breast cancer in early stages is through annual screening mammograms beginning at age 40.Breast Cancer Awareness Month provides both a time to honor those lost to the disease as well as an opportunity to empower women in their fight against breast cancer by spreading the message of prevention and early detection through annual screening mammograms.
Financial and social barriers often prevent women from seeking screening mammograms. In addition to raising awareness, fundraising initiatives such as the Be Pink initiative, help institutions like the Park Nicollet Jane Brattain Breast Center make mammography accessible to more women in our Minnesotan community.
The Department of Education's new website provides college prep tools for students, teachers and parents.
The Minnesota Department of Education launched its new website “Ready, Set, Go” today to help students, parents and teachers bridge the gap between high school and college.
“Today’s students will need some form of higher education to succeed in the workforce,” Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said. “This website will be an important tool for ensuring our students take advantage of the great post-secondary options available to them while also preparing them for the next step after high school.”
The department hopes to use the site to encourage students take advantage of dual credit courses, college level courses offered to high school students. The site provides parents with up to date information on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and other dual credit classes, while giving students tools for academic planning. It also provides information on preparing for the sometimes overwhelming process of applying to college, from choosing schools to applying for financial aid.
The site was made possible by a grant from the US Department of Education.
Photo credit: CollegeDegrees260. Guest Blog by Minnesota Department of Education.
Today, ACT released testing data for the class of 2012, showing that Minnesota students continue to lead the nation in college preparedness.
With 74% of all students taking the test, the state average was 22.8 points out of a possible 36. For states where at least half of the students took the exam, this average score is nearly a point and half higher than the national average, placing Minnesota at the top of the pack.
Other successes from today’s release include a three percent increase in the number of Hispanic students meeting ACT benchmarks in Minnesota.
The ACT is an end of high school exam that measures a student’s college and career readiness. This year’s scores will help inform the work of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller and MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone as they collaborate on a plan to redesign grades 11 – 14. Their efforts are focused on increasing the achievement of every Minnesota high school student, and helping them be better prepared for success in post-secondary education and into the workforce.
While Commissioners Cassellius and Pogemiller were pleased by Minnesota’s performance, they both acknowledged the definite need for growth and increased urgency to ensure all students graduate from high school fully prepared for college and career.
At a meeting on Wednesday, August 15, Governor Dayton met with members of the Prevention of Bullying Task Force to discuss ways to prevent bullying and harassment in Minnesota schools.
Before students can learn, they need to feel safe. That’s the message underscoring the mission of the Prevention of Bullying Task Force, which released its recommendations to Governor Mark Dayton this week imploring immediate and urgent action to combat bullying, harassment, and intimidation in Minnesota schools.
The Task Force was established by Governor Dayton in February by Executive Order for the purpose of ensuring that all students have a safe learning environment, which is essential in determining not only the academic success of students, but also healthy social and emotional development.
In the process of determining their recommendations, the members of the Task Force heard testimony from students, educators, parents, and community members, as well as from more than a dozen expert panelists.
After consideration of these testimonies, along with a review of a wide range of documents and research, the Task Force has yielded its recommendations, which it believes will help create safe, learning-positive environments where students can thrive.
The eight recommendations issued by the Task Force to Governor Dayton are:
Quinn Muhich congratulated on the big screen at a Twins game for hitting a homerun for financial literacy
As kids grow into a word of finances and start becoming consumers, it’s important that they learn the importance and of saving money early. That was the thinking that led Governor Mark Dayton, the Minnesota Department of Commerce, and the Minnesota Twins to host the state’s first-ever “Hit a Homerun for Financial Literacy Contest.” The contest encouraged grade 3-5 students from across the state to describe three simple steps they could take to make smart decisions with their money.
This year’s winner was Eveleth fifth grader Quinn Muhich. The three steps described by Muhich in his essay are “wait, save, and give,” which highlight the benefits that smart financial planning can have not just for oneself, but for those in need, as well.
“This contest reminded me that it is always important to think before spending money,” said Quinn. “My family has taught me that
saving money is important so that I can buy something nice with my savings and I can give to those who don’t have as much.”
Director Larry Pogemiller from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education visited FarmFest last week to hear directly from those in the field about the connection between higher education and the Ag industry in Minnesota.
The strong partnership between the two was made evident by a panel of experts from the University of Minnesota, including President Eric Kaler. The discussion, “Innovations in Agriculture…Opportunities from the University” focused on the significant contributions the states only Land Grant institution has made in both educating students to work in the agriculture industries and as a world-leader in research and development of new technologies.
During the panel discussion, Kaler announced his intention to ramp up the University’s commitment to agriculture in the future, saying that Minnesota could be the “Silicon Valley” of the food industry. He plans to advance his idea of a stronger commitment to agriculture with state leaders leading into the next legislative session.