Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton recently released his “7-Point Plan for Achieving Excellence” in education. The seven points in the plan focuses on three main areas: improve state education funding; focus more resources and raise the profile of Early Childhood Education; and narrow the achievement gap.
Dayton spoke about the plan on his website, stating, “Education was key to our State’s past prosperity, and it will be key to our future prosperity. An excellent public education system will be the driving force behind job creation in Minnesota. We must prepare today’s students for the jobs and the industries of the future, and thus we must make important innovations in our public school system. With this plan, we will take what is good with Minnesota’s K-12 education and make it even better, to ensure every student full opportunity to succeed in this ever more competitive global economy.” (http://mn.gov/governor/newsroom/pressreleasedetail.jsp?id=9625)
Specifically, the seven points are as follows:
1. Funding education for the future – including investing in early childhood and kindergarten and maintaining efforts to close the achievement gap. Part of this mandate calls for establishing a Governor’s Commission on Better School Funding.
2. Better early childhood education – by targeting all-day kindergarten, expanding the K-12 system to a pre-K-12 system, and implementing school readiness standards.
3. Close the gap – through setting accountability targets to close achievement gaps and establishing a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education and Governor’s Achievement Gap Innovation Fund.
4. Reading well by third grade – by launching a statewide literacy campaign, molding accountability standards to meet this goal, and adopting literacy standards for pre-K-3.
5. Support teaching for better schools – setting alternative pathways to teacher licensure, establishing a statewide teacher performance evaluation, development system, and support networks, and supporting early childhood teacher observation and development.
6. Better testing for better results – including developing assessments for learning (i.e., formative assessments: see our former post on formative assessment), establishing a Test Reduction Task Force, and including growth as an accountability measure.
7. A department of education that provides educational leadership and support – by repositioning the Minnesota Department of Education to support teachers, schools, and districts; reauthorizing the Statewide Early Childhood Advisory Council and reestablishing the Children’s Cabinet; and charging the Commissioner of Education with leadership of early childhood initiatives.
To read the full press release, follow this link: http://mn.gov/governor/newsroom/pressreleasedetail.jsp?id=9625
For an outline of the seven-point plan, follow this link: http://mn.gov/governor/images/Better-Schools-For-A-Better-Minnesota.pdf