This past Tuesday, July 3, the National Education Association (NEA) honored Governor Mark Dayton with the 2012 America’s Greatest Education Governor Award. The annual award recognizes and honors governors who have made major, state-level education strides that improve public schools. The award was presented by NEA President Dennis Van Roekel before approximately 9,000 educators. Governor Dayton is the fifth recipient of the award.
In regard to the award, Governor Dayton said, “I am very honored to receive this award from educators across America,” said Gov. Dayton. “As a former public school teacher, I know how challenging their jobs are. I promised that my administration would make education and jobs my highest priorities. This award shows we’re making progress.”
Governor Dayton was presented the award largely due to his signing of the the K-12 Education Policy bill this past May. The bill includes a provision to require school districts to pay teachers their full salary while they are on military leave. School districts initially reduced the pay of teachers on military leave in order to cover the costs of substitute teachers. The provision was enacted after Matt Reuter, a teacher and NEA member from Winona, Minnesota, was required by the school district to pay $11,000 for a substitute teacher while he served in Afghanistan in 2011.