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Session 2004

Session 2004: Education

At A Glance
Many lawmakers weren't sure precisely what they were voting on, but the House and Senate approved new academic requirements for science and social studies curriculums in the final minutes of the session. They were needed to replace the Profile of Learning graduation rules that were repealed last year. English and math requirements were approved last year. This year's agreements were tough to come by. The new standards are a blend of a fact-specific teaching approach favored by the Republican House and Gov. Tim Pawlenty and a more theme and context oriented approach favored by Senate Democrats.

U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige visited Minnesota on Thursday, the second time in two months he's come to the state to promote the federal No Child Left Behind Law. Paige says the federal government is trying to respond to states' concerns about the law. His comments didn't satisfy some teachers and school officials, who say the law is causing many problems for schools. (04/15/2004)
Minneapolis and St. Paul school district officials are blasting legislation that would take away some of the state funding they get for keeping their schools racially balanced. (04/12/2004)
Minnesota Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke is trying to convince lawmakers that she's been an effective leader for public education the past year and deserves to keep her title. (04/02/2004)
The University of Minnesota president, Robert Bruininks, will be in the MPR studios to discuss a new Gophers stadium, tuition issues, and other university news. He'll also take questions from MPR listeners. ( 04/01/2004)
The Minnesota House has approved legislation that takes money used for school desegregation programs away from urban districts and shares it with schools statewide. Lawmakers approved the controversial funding shift Wednesday night as part of a broader education finance package. The Republican House passed the $8 million dollar education bill on a 74-56 vote. (04/01/2004)
A Minnesota Senate Committee will debate the job performance of Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke this week. The first of two confirmation hearings for the commissioner is scheduled for Thursday afternoon. Yecke will be in the MPR studios to discuss her job and education issues, and to take listener questions. ( 03/31/2004)
Friends and foes of Minnesota Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke are ready to share their opinions with state lawmakers, as the Senate opens confirmation hearings. Even though she's been on the job over a year, her approval is by no means certain. Yecke has led the Department of Education with often polarizing results. Her fans say she's the type of commissioner the state has long needed. But critics claim she's done more to harm public education than help it. (03/31/2004)
The Minnesota House has approved legislation establishing new science and social studies standards for public schools. Members of the Republican-controlled body adopted the grade-by-grade requirements Thursday night on a 73 to 55 vote. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are considering three alternative plans for how schools should teach social studies. (03/19/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty's task force on education finance reform wants to give local school officials more discretion over how to spend state aid, as long as their students are succeeding in the classroom. (03/15/2004)
Rejecting a call to start fresh, the Republican-led House Education Committee endorsed proposed social studies and science standards Thursday for Minnesota public schools. (03/04/2004)
Minnesota education commissioner, Cheri Pierson Yecke, is in the MPR studios to discuss the latest on the social studies standards, school funding, and the federal No Child Left Behind law. ( 03/02/2004)
A new report says the federal No Child Left Behind law will cost Minnesota and local school districts at least $39 million a year to implement. (02/26/2004)
The nation's top education official says he thinks few states will follow through on recent threats to bail out on the federal No Child Left Behind law. U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige was in St. Paul Tuesday, meeting with small groups of school leaders and policymakers to discuss the law's school accountability and testing rules. The visit came one day after a state Senate committee gave its preliminary approval to a bill that would cut state ties with the law, and forfeit millions of dollars in federal aid. (02/18/2004)
The latest revision of proposed social studies standards for Minnesota public schools contains fewer errors but no less controversy than previous versions. Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke presented a third draft of the grade-by-grade requirements on Tuesday to members of the House Education Policy Committee. (02/17/2004)
A revolt against federal education law is brewing at the state Capitol. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 brought tough new accountability measures to schools and expanded student testing requirements. But several state lawmakers in both political parties are growing frustrated with what they view as an unfunded and intrusive mandate. The Senate Education Committee will take up two bills Tuesday that express that frustration. (02/17/2004)

Session 2004

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Audio Highlights

Audio How education fared in the session
Rep. Barb Sykora, chair of the House Education Policy Committee, and Sen. Steve Kelley, chair of the Senate Education Committee discuss education issues that were debated this session. (Midday - 5/20/04)
Audio Bruininks on the U of M
University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks discusses the U's tuition increase and the effect of the failure of the bonding bill on the U of M. (Midmorning - 5/18/04)
Audio Gov. Pawlenty's education agenda
The governor unveils proposals that would expand charter schools, restructure low performing school districts and encourage districts to share certain services.