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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 They were needed to replace the Profile of Learning graduation rules that were repealed last year.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.

Legislative leaders are predicting a long and lively debate in the coming weeks over proposed academic standards. The K-12 education agenda should be relatively light for this non-funding year session. Gov. Pawlenty is pushing several proposals for school reform that he'll include in his supplemental spending plan. But the cost won't likely stray from his pledge to live within existing revenues. (01/30/2004)
State Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke on Friday defended the proposed standards for social studies and science as "a reasonable amount work for students." At a state Senate hearing on the standards, critics complained about the volume of factual content, and whether there's enough time to for them to cover the required material in their classes. (01/23/2004)
Gov. Pawlenty's education agenda for the 2004 Legislative session keeps getting bigger. The Republican governor unveiled proposals Monday that would expand charter schools, restructure low performing school districts and encourage districts to share certain services. He also wants to lower Internet access cost for rural schools and recognize students for high test scores. (01/05/2004)
Minnesota's Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke distributed Friday what she describes as a slimmed-down set of social studies standards that includes many changes. She says the new draft puts more emphasis on analysis, explanation, evaluation and comparison. ( 12/22/2003)
Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke on Friday released a new draft of social studies and science standards that she said were extensively changed from a widely criticized first effort. (12/19/2003)
Sen. Geoff Michel, R-Edina, says he plans to ask his colleagues to form a commission that could recommend closing some college campuses in Minnesota. Michel's proposed commission would be modeled on a federal commission that closed military bases in the 1990s. It would have 13 members appointed by House and Senate leaders and the governor and would recommend campus closings based on criteria that include operating costs, instructional costs as related to enrollment, geographic access and demographic projections. ( 12/17/2003)
The citizens committee working on the proposed social studies standards for Minnesota public schools is facing a December 15 deadline to finish its second draft. The revised document is expected to look much different than the earlier version, which generated widespread criticism. But the pending changes might not be enough to satisfy some critics. (12/04/2003)
A gubernatorial task force is working to put new ideas on education funding before the Legislature early next year. (12/01/2003)
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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.