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Session 2003

Session 2003: K-12 Education

The show-what-you-know Profile of Learning was traded in for a built-from-scratch set of academic standards. The bill establishes rigorous new standards for five core subjects: language arts, mathematics, science, social studies and the arts. If all goes as planned, schools will incorporate the new English and reading, math and arts standards in their curriculums by this fall, with social studies and science guidelines following within a year.

Select teachers could earn up to $100-thousand a year in a pilot program proposed by Gov. Tim Pawlenty. They'd get it in exchange for working in some of the state's toughest schools and forfeiting some job security. The governor wants legislative approval to create "super teacher" positions in up to five schools. We discuss the proposed plan, and find out how it would work. ( 10/02/2003)
As summer vacation begins, we discuss the changing education standards and priorities. Gov. Tim Pawlenty has said the new education bill contains seeds of reform for Minnesota's public schools. Pawlenty says schools and parents must be held accountable to meet new federal and state education standards. ( 06/09/2003)
A nearly $12 billion spending bill for Minnesota schools is awaiting Gov. Pawlenty's signature. Kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms were largely spared from the deep cuts needed to balance the state's budget deficit. But spending was reduced significantly for several education programs. (05/30/2003)
Three days into their special session, state lawmakers have passed half of the state budget bills. The House and Senate passed a bill Thursday night that funds education from pre-school through grade 12, as well as some adult education programs. The bill now goes to Gov. Pawlenty. Supporters say they did their best to continue funding the classroom. Opponents say the bill makes significant cuts to early childhood education, special education funding and English as a second language. (05/23/2003)
The Profile of Learning as schools and parents have known it is gone. A new set of graduation standards crafted by the House and Senate education leaders and the education department goes to legislators at the very end of the session. ( 05/20/2003)
State lawmakers have voted overwhelmingly to strike the Profile of Learning graduation standards from state law. The House and Senate passed compromise legislation Monday night to repeal the controversial show-what-you-know system. The bill also establishes new statewide academic standards for public schools. (05/20/2003)
Monday may be Judgment Day for the much-maligned Profile of Learning education standards. After reaching a late-night deal on a repeal and replacement proposal, a House-Senate committee worked into Saturday morning to polish the compromise plan that would finally do away with the Profile. Committee leaders hope to put it before the full Legislature on Monday. (05/17/2003)
Supporters of early childhood development are making a last ditch effort to fully fund Head Start and other early childhood education programs. Supporters of Ready for K, an early childhood advocacy group, say they're lobbying state lawmakers about the importance of early childhood education funding. The Minnesota House cuts eight million dollars to Head Start and subsidized child care. Governor Pawlenty and Senate DFLers fund the programs at more generous levels. ( 05/15/2003)
Lawmakers could soon strike the Profile of Learning from state law, but portions of the controversial graduation standards might live on in some classrooms. The bureaucracy of the Profile has been widely criticized since its launch in 1998. Yet, despite its flaws, many school districts have found the show-what-you-know approach to be an effective way to teach kids. (05/14/2003)
The K-12 education funding bill that passed in the state House and Senate would allow schools districts to sell naming rights to corporate sponsors to raise extra revenue. Sen. David Tomassoni, DFL-Chisholm, who authored the provision, says he imagines schools could raise significant amounts through deals allowing corporations like Microsoft to attach their names to school buildings. Tomassoni has been on education committee for 11 years, and he says no matter what the economic climate, schools always seem to need extra revenue. MPR's Lorna Benson talked with him about his idea. (05/08/2003)
A new analysis of graduation rates, test scores and other public school data shows Minnesota needs to make a lot of improvements to meet new federal education requirements. (05/08/2003)
Educators throughout Minnesota are fighting this session to preserve funding for summer school and other programs to help struggling students. Gov. Pawlenty's budget proposal eliminates the extra money school districts get for students enrolled in programs outside of the regular school day. House and Senate leaders have taken less drastic positions in their K-12 funding bills, but reductions are still a possibility. (05/06/2003)
The Minnesota House has passed its largest budget bill, a nearly $12 billion education funding package. House Republican leaders say the bill aims to hold education harmless in the face of a projected $4.2 billion deficit. DFL lawmakers voted against the bill, calling it a "leave every child behind" education plan. As the House was debating the bill, the issue took an unusual turn in the Senate, where DFL leaders moved $12.5 billion in education spending into the Senate tax bill. (05/01/2003)
The Minnesota Senate is expected to take action this week on a $12 billion funding measure for elementary and secondary schools. (04/28/2003)
Officials at Minnesota's only residential, tuition-free arts high school say tight state finances could force them to close their dormitory and change their mission. (04/18/2003)
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Audio Highlights

The new education standards (6/9/03)
Commissioner of Education Cheri Pearson Yecke explains the new standards. Midday
K-12 budget deal reached. (5/22/03)
Education commissioner, key legislators interviewed on MPR's Midday
News conference: House Republicans outline legislative priorities, most dealing with repeal of Profile of Learning (1/8/03)
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