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.
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.
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).
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.
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’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’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,”
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.”