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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. 


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Get the Facts on Predatory Lending

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

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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.


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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%


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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

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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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NEA names Governor Dayton "Greatest Education Governor"

Posted on July 05, 2012 at 1:38 PM
Categories: Education

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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.”


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In China, Enlivening Higher Education

Posted on June 09, 2012 at 8:00 AM
Categories: Education, Trade Mission

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Three major Minnesota universities are currently participating in Governor Dayton’s Trade Mission to China. The University of Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, and Metropolitan State University have each seen substantial growth in their relationships with Chinese universities, students, and faculty in recent years, and the current trade mission offers all three an occasion to strengthen current ties to China, and to also create new partnerships. Below is a brief overview of each university’s connections to China, as well as their objectives for the current trade mission.

University of Minnesota

The first Chinese students attended the University of Minnesota in 1914. Today, of the 4,500 international students, faculty, and staff at the University, over 1,400 are visiting Chinese scholars and students, the largest Chinese population of any campus in North America. In 2004, President Robert Bruininks led an official University of Minnesota delegation to China to facilitate educational exchange and promote cultural understanding. By 2009, the University of Minnesota launched its first official office abroad in Beijing, which provides support for students, faculty, and staff traveling to China on official University business. The University’s rapport with China has consistently progressed in recent years, leading to a growing Chinese presence on campus, which the current delegation will continue to encourage.

St. Cloud State University

Saint Cloud State University (SCSU) has developed deep international relationships and agreements over many years of interaction. St. Cloud State University has active relationships with more than 25 overseas universities and institutions through their Center for International Studies, including eight Chinese universities. The partnerships include student and faculty exchanges and participation of Chinese students and faculty in a summer training institute on the SCSU campus.

The partnership with Shanghai University of Engineering Science has taken individual importance during this trade mission. St. Cloud State University President Earl Potter, a veteran of four governor’s trade missions, anticipates meeting with the new president of SUES, Xiaodong Ding, during the trade mission. In addition, both SUES President Xiaodong Ding and the institution’s previous president, Dr. Wang Hong, now governor of the industrial/port district in Shanghai, have both been invited to attend a reception with Governor Dayton.


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A new era of accountability for Minnesota's schools

Posted on May 23, 2012 at 12:56 PM
Categories: Education, Reform

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This week, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released information about how schools across the state are doing. Unlike years past, this year, the ratings look a little different.

The ratings are based on a new accountability system – made possible with the approval of Minnesota’s No Child Left Behind (NLCB) waiver - that provides a better, fairer picture of how Minnesota schools are actually doing.

The new system is a vast improvement from the previous system, which measured schools solely based on a single high-stakes test to determine an Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) score.  That limited snapshot resulted in a system that unfairly mislabeled and over labeled schools as failing – even schools that were performing at high levels.

Now, with the new Multiple Measurement Rating (MMR) system, schools will be evaluated on a number of equally measured criteria. MDE will take into consideration:

  • Proficiency - How are students scoring on state tests?

  • Student growth - How are students making progress toward their goals?

  • Achievement gap reduction – How are schools doing to close the performance gaps among groups of students?

  • Graduation rate – How many students are graduating from high school each year?


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Addressing Higher Education Costs Through Reform

Posted on April 17, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Categories: Education, Reform, Jobs

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As part of Governor Mark Dayton’s Better Government for a Better Minnesota reform initiative, state government officials are turning their attention to the rising costs of higher education.

Last week, Governor Dayton, Senator Franken, and Office of Higher Education Director Larry Pogemiller met with students from around the state to discuss the challenges they face, including higher tuition costs and crippling student debt.  At the same time, state higher education funding per student has fallen by 48% since 2000.  Colleges are trying to educate students with far fewer resources, and many of the costs are now falling to students themselves. These obstacles are limiting Minnesota students’ educational opportunities and are making it more difficult for them to gain the education they need to succeed in the workforce.

After Monday’s meeting in Minneapolis, OHE Director Pogemiller toured the state to get feedback from other colleges.  He traveled to Austin and Winona last week to discuss the rising costs of college for students. He stressed the need for the state to return higher education funding to historical levels to help students manage their costs.  The Office of Higher Education already works to provide tips to current and prospective students on how they can lower the costs of a college education, and the department strives to improve the resources they offer.


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Kicking Off ‘Financial Literacy Month’

Posted on April 02, 2012 at 11:32 AM
Categories: Economy, Education, Veterans

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Governor Mark Dayton has issued a proclamation declaring April as Financial Literacy Month in Minnesota. Financial Literacy Month kicks off an unprecedented statewide outreach effort organized by the state’s newly founded ‘Interagency Work Group on Financial Literacy.’ Over the next four weeks, the work group will be coordinating nearly 40 outreach events, such as educational workgroups, financial trainings, and homeownership forums for Minnesota students, soldiers, families, and senior citizens.

Governor Dayton noted in his proclamation that, “Providing all Minnesotans the tools to make informed choices and avoid pitfalls helps improve their financial security.”


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Governor Dayton Brings the Capitol to Mankato

Posted on March 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM
Categories: Education

Every spring, sixth graders from Mankato board busses for an exciting field trip to St. Paul. There, they visit the Capitol and meet with their legislators to learn about civics first hand. Hearing the trip may have to be canceled this year because a thief stole $2,300 raised to support the visit, Governor Dayton decided to bring government to Mankato. He visited the students at Franklin and Garfield Elementary Schools, speaking about his role in government before taking questions from the students.

When they visit St. Paul, the students usually tour the Capitol Rotunda, the Governor’s Office, and the Supreme Court before meeting with their legislators. Afterwards, they also visit the Science Museum and Omnitheater, and finally end their day at historic Fort Snelling. For 34 years, the Mankato Sertoma Club has helped make this trip possible by raising funds to support the students. They’re still working hard to make sure the trip happens, but Governor Dayton wanted to be certain these students wouldn’t miss an opportunity to learn about their state government.


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