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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Posted on October 09, 2012 at 4:40 PM
Categories: Health, Greater Minnesota, Education

The Minnesota State Capitol and Governor Mark Dayton Declare October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in MN

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.


MN Department of Education Launches New College Prep Website

Posted on October 04, 2012 at 3:58 PM
Categories: Education, Technology

MN DOE's new website

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.


Minnesota Leads the Nation in ACT Scores

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 1:43 PM
Categories: Education

College students

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.


A “Sense of Urgency” in Anti-Bullying Task Force Recommendations

Posted on August 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education


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:


Minnesota Fifth Grader Hits a Home Run for Financial Literacy

Posted on August 15, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Commerce, Education

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.”


Minnesota Office of Higher Education at FarmFest

Posted on August 10, 2012 at 10:15 AM
Categories: Agriculture, Greater Minnesota, Education


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.


MCA Results Show Improvement in Reading, Math by Minnesota Students

Posted on August 02, 2012 at 10:22 AM
Categories: Education

From Kare 11: Minnesota students are making gains in both math and reading, according to the results of the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) Comprehensive Assessment (MCA), which was released today.

Minnesota students are making gains in both math and reading, according to the results of the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) Comprehensive Assessment (MCA), which was released today.

Some of the highlights of the MCA include:

  • 3rd grade reading scores have increased two points since last year
  • Reading scores for grades 4-8 as well as grade 10 also improved
  • Math scores for grades 3-8 improved across the board
  • Grades 7 and 8 showed the most improvement in math, with 7th graders improving from 50.9 to 57.2 percent proficient, and 8th graders improving from 52.6 to 60.7 percent proficient.
  • Nearly every category among the state’s students of color and special populations saw an improvement in their scores. The biggest gains in math were made by American Indian and Hispanic students in grades 3-8.
  • While the state still faces a significant achievement gap, the MDE’s heightened focus on making sure all students are successful is expected to yield continued improvement in years to come.

The Governor is pleased to see these results, which help highlight the positive work of the Minnesota Department of Education, as well as teachers and parents, in improving the academic performance of Minnesota’s students and future leaders. 


Get the Facts on Predatory Lending

Posted on July 31, 2012 at 12:10 PM
Categories: Commerce, Education, Human Rights


Photo credit: Flickr user Taber Andrew Bain

The Minnesota Department of Commerce is working with U.S. Congressman Keith Ellison to stop predatory lending. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman and Congressman Ellison are holding a special Town Hall Forum on Predatory Lending on August 8 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Neighborhood Hub in North Minneapolis. Commissioner Rothman and Congressman Ellison want to hear your stories about how predatory lending and foreclosure have affected your community so we can stop these destructive practices. All residents of North Minneapolis are invited to attend.

Predatory lending often targets low-income consumers, causing financial hardship in Minnesota neighborhoods. Scam artists and predatory lenders take advantage of consumers from all walks of life, causing foreclosures and financial hardship in our communities. In recent years, foreclosure and loan modification scams have severely harmed North Minneapolis neighborhoods.

According to the Department of Commerce, nearly 136,000 Minnesota homes have gone into foreclosure in the last seven years. That adds up to almost $13 billion in home equity lost in Minnesota alone since 2005. If your neighbor or someone down the street goes into foreclosure, the average loss in value to your home is roughly $8,500.


Minnesota Recognized for Efforts with At-Risk Youth

Posted on July 30, 2012 at 9:32 AM
Categories: Education

This week, national non-profit Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) recognized Minnesota for statewide efforts to lower drop-out rates and connect youth with higher education and jobs after high school. JAG awarded the local affiliate Job’s for Minnesota Graduates it’s most prestigious honor, the National Performance Award, after earning a 5 out of 5 rating in their yearly state assessments.

Jobs for Minnesota Graduates is a school-to-career program that seeks to raise student aspirations while teaching teamwork and leadership. The program also cultivates partnerships between schools, communities, and local/national businesses to help students transition from high school to the workforce.

The program tracks students as they leave the program to see how they are doing post-graduation. In Minnesota, 2011 graduates who participated in the program showed remarkable success just a year after high school:

•    High School Graduation Rate: 97.94%

•    Positive Outcomes Rate: 80.00%

•    Aggregate Employment Rate: 60.00%

•    Full-time Jobs Rate: 63.16%

•    Full-time Placement Rate: 92.98%

•    Pursuing Higher Education: 44.21%


Learning never stops – at least that’s the goal of the Minnesota Department of Education and 21st Century Community Learning Grants

Posted on July 27, 2012 at 10:00 AM
Categories: Education


Everyone loves summer – especially in Minnesota.  Hot dogs on the grill, lazy days at the lake, county fairs and festivals everywhere you turn.  But summer can also pose challenges when it comes to students who struggle to learn. Increasingly, educators are looking for ways to combat the “summer slide”, the phenomenon that has kids avoiding books and other academic activities in the months that school is out. Many children, especially struggling readers, forget some of what they've learned during the school year, making it that much harder to hit the ground running when schools back in session come fall. 

That’s where summer learning programs come in, and why programs like the ones funded by the Minnesota Department of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Grants are so important.

The Minnesota Department of Education has administered the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program since 2002. These federal funds, authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001, help establish or expand community learning centers that provide students with enrichment opportunities during times when school is not in session. 

During the last school year alone (2010-11, the most recent data available) $9,625,000 was provided to thirty 21st CCLC grantees to support programming in 98 centers located in urban, suburban and rural communities across the state. More than 21,000 students participated. Since 2002, Minnesota has awarded $77,729,219 to 68 grantees statewide, serving an average of 20,000 students each year.


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