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      Results Minnesota: Minnesotans Have the Education and Skills Needed to Achieve Their Goals

      Posted on December 11, 2012 at 8:30 AM

      Photo of Governor Dayton, Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, and Read it!

      On February 1, Governor Mark Dayton and Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, visited the North St. Paul-Maplewood Oakdale ISD 622, to celebrate February as “I Love to Read” Month. The Governor and Commissioner, along with Read It, enjoyed story time with the Kindergartners and third graders. 

      Two years into his administration, Governor Mark Dayton is making important progress toward building a Better Minnesota. Measuring that progress by the improvements Minnesotans have seen in their lives, families, communities, and economy, the Dayton Administration is taking inventory of what has been accomplished thus far, and considering the work that still remains to be done.

      One crucial measure of that progress is ensuring Minnesotans have the education and skills they need to achieve their goals. Building a better Minnesota starts with giving our children and workforce a world-class education, and the skills they need to succeed in a global economy.

      That is why Governor Dayton is strongly committed to providing more funding for K-12 classrooms and early childhood education, increasing per pupil spending, and making college more affordable for Minnesotans. Governor Dayton is also focused on helping working Minnesotans access the education and workforce training they need to compete and succeed in today’s economy. 

      In the Spotlight: Teaching Kids to Read Well 

      Reading is the cornerstone of all learning. That is why making sure every child is reading well by third grade is key to overall student success. 

      In 2011, Governor Dayton invested more than $55 million in early literacy.  The Department of Education worked with every school district to develop local literacy plans that outline how curriculum, instruction, and assessments will be used to improve third grade reading scores.

      Early results of this key investment are promising:  In 2012, student in grades 3-8 made substantial overall gains in reading, with notable progress among American Indian and Hispanic students.

      Delivering Results

      • Increasing School Funding – Provided a $100 per pupil increase on the school funding formula, resulting in a $132 million total increase

      • Funding Early Learning Programs – Invested $16 million of state funds and federal grants in early learning scholarships for Minnesota families, helping an estimated 1,200 kids attend high quality preschool or childcare they otherwise would not have been able to attend.

      • Helping Students Graduate – Developed a new accountability system that gives parents and teachers a clearer picture of how school and students are making progress towards graduation.

      • Encouraging Student to Apply for College – Sponsored College Application Week, waiving application fees.  Included a special focus on underrepresented communities.  Saw a 200% increase in applications.

      • Training Minnesota’s Workforce – Funded 67 workforce training projects through post-secondary training institutions, helping 88 Minnesota businesses improve the skills of over 10,000 new and existing workers.

      • Helping Working Adults Achieve a College Education – Helped 2,000 working adults achieve a college education – 88% of participants earned college credit; 64% advanced their career or gained new employment.

      • Teaching Minnesotans to Use Computers and Technology – Supported 38 sites for Digital Literacy Training statewide.  Hosted more than 9,500 hours of literacy training events attended by over 6,800 Minnesotans.

      • Helping Workers Succeed in Math – Partnered with 182 Minnesota businesses to train over 2,800 job seekers in high-demand math skills.

      • Training Unemployed Workers – Vocational Rehabilitation Services has helped re-train, and re-employ nearly 5,000 unemployed workers.

      • Focusing on Financial Literacy – Developed an interagency work group on financial literacy, collaborating across 10 state agencies and engaging hundreds of stakeholders to improve the financial fitness of Minnesotans.

      • Getting Kids Outdoors – Over 2,000 teachers and 30,000 students have participated in “school forest” classrooms, learning math, science, social studies, and other core subjects in an outdoor setting.