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Building a Better Minnesota

Posted on December 21, 2011 at 10:56 AM
Categories: Economy, Jobs, Health, Education, Transportation

A year into Governor Mark Dayton’s first term, Minnesotans are seeing the value of a Governor who is committed to putting people back to work, protecting middle-class taxpayers and changing the way government does business.  Governor Dayton has made significant progress towards these goals by engaging the ideas of legislators from both parties, our state’s businesses, and most importantly, the people of Minnesota.
When he was inaugurated, Governor Dayton said that the way to get Minnesota working again was by working together.  His first year in office has proven that to be true.  Our state is recovering from tough times, but with Governor Dayton’s direction our state agencies continue to do more with less.  The Governor has been relentlessly committed to creating more jobs here in our state, and creating the kind of environment where private businesses can thrive.

“Let us dedicate ourselves to rebuilding a successful state, one that again is the envy of the nation, a leader of the world. Let it be written that we were Minnesotans who led the way to something better than before, who created something greater than ourselves, who achieved together what none of us could have accomplished on our own.”
- Governor Mark Dayton, January 3, 2011

Getting Minnesota Back to Work

- Under the Governor’s leadership Minnesota continues to outpace the national economic recovery.  Minnesota’s unemployment rate is 5.9 percent, compared to 8.6 percent for the rest of the country.  There are 53,000 more Minnesotans at work now, compared to the bottom of the recession. 

- Governor Dayton worked to pass a $500 million bonding bill, putting thousands of Minnesotans back to work improving bridges, roads and infrastructure.


Minnesota receives $45 million Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant

Posted on December 19, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Categories: Education

The White House announced Friday that Minnesota had been selected to receive a $45 million education grant from Race to the Top.

The Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant will focus on efforts to improve and boost early childhood education. Minnesota was one of nine states selected to receive a grant.

"Today’s announcement fulfills Governor Mark Dayton’s promise to utilize a collaborative, community based approach in applying for the grant and furthers the Administration’s commitment toward positioning Minnesota as a national leader in early education reform," the Park Rapids Enterprise reports.

After the announcement, Governor Dayton held a news conference at the Capitol.

Minnesota Public Radio reports:

At a Capitol news conference, Gov. Mark Dayton described Minnesota's award as great news in several ways.

"It's a great day for everyone who cares about the future of our children," said Dayton. "And it's a great day for Minnesota, because it's a day that Minnesota has been recognized nationally, where we should be, as one of the preeminent leaders in the nation when it comes to such important areas as early childhood education."


Star Tribune: Gov. Dayton and his team hit the road

Posted on December 12, 2011 at 1:53 PM
Categories: Education, Commerce, Economy

This weekend the Star Tribune highlighted the travels of Governor Dayton and his Administration across the state of Minnesota. Check out the article, "Gov. Dayton and his team hit the road," below:

Gov. Mark Dayton and his commissioners are fanning out across Minnesota.

Education, revenue, pollution control and agency heads are following their boss' lead by hitting the road to take the pulse of the people.

"I think it makes a better relationship between Minnesota citizens and their government," Dayton said. It is essential, he said, for administration officials to "get out from behind the desk and the office and really see firsthand what's going on there in the real world and get the dialogue going. I really encourage commissioners to do that. I am very proud of them for doing so."

As a candidate, Dayton toured Minnesota's 87 counties in 87 days, covering 9,000 miles in less than three months. At the tour's conclusion, he bragged that he'd probably been to more counties more often, "than all the other candidates combined."


Governor Dayton visits Neill Elementary School in Crystal

Posted on December 08, 2011 at 2:50 PM
Categories: Education

Today, Governor Dayton visited Edward D. Neill Elementary School in Crystal and stopped by a 4th grade classroom to view their robotics projects.

The Governor also attended the school's PRIDE Assembly, which celebrates school and student successes. At the assembly, Governor Dayton answered questions from the Student Council and announced the names of the students who received December's Student of the Month award. 




Education Department Announces Series of Statewide Meetings

Posted on December 06, 2011 at 1:09 PM
Categories: Education, Commerce, Environment

Today the Minnesota Department of Education announced a series of statewide public meetings to provide information about Minnesota’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver request.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and MDE staff will embark on a statewide tour to present information about Minnesota’s waiver request and plans for a new accountability system that will more accurately and fairly measure schools progress.

“While the goals of NCLB are noble and some aspects of the law have been effective, it’s clear Minnesota can, and must do better,” said Commissioner Cassellius. “That’s why Governor Dayton has taken the lead in making Minnesota one of the first states to create an accountability system that is more responsive to the needs of our students, our schools and our state. These meetings will provide the public an opportunity to hear about Minnesota's waiver request, ask questions and offer feedback.”

The first meetings will be held in Rochester on December 7 and in St. Cloud on December 14. To read the full announcement and for more information about the waiver request, click here.


Governor Dayton receives 2011 Friend of Education Award

Posted on December 02, 2011 at 10:03 AM
Categories: Education

Today the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) awarded Governor Dayton their 2011 Friend of Education Award. The award is given to Minnesota leaders who demonstrate exceptional support and leadership in advocating for public education. Governor Dayton accepted the award and spoke this morning at AMSD's monthly meeting.

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.


Governor Dayton Establishes Task Force to Address School Bullying

Posted on November 29, 2011 at 4:48 PM
Categories: Education

Today, Governor Dayton announced the formation of a Task Force to address the serious problem of bullying in our schools.

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.


Minnesota Ranks Second in Nationwide Opportunity Index

Posted on November 28, 2011 at 2:39 PM
Categories: Education, Jobs, Economy

Opportunity Nation ranked Minnesota 2nd in the nation today in a new index that measures how effectively individuals can move up the economic ladder, according to Northland's NewsCenter.

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).


Education Commissioner Cassellius, Higher Ed Director Pogemiller highlight College Application Week

Posted on November 18, 2011 at 10:01 AM
Categories: Education

Yesterday, Education Commissioner Dr. Brenda Cassellius and Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller visited Irondale High School for College Application Week — an initiative designed to engage and inform students across the state about the college application process.

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.


Governor Dayton proclaims Minnesota College Application Week

Posted on November 14, 2011 at 1:07 PM
Categories: Education

Governor Dayton has proclaimed this week, November 14-18, 2011, as Minnesota College Application Week, to acknowledge and highlight the importance of high school students being prepared to apply to college.

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.


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