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Gov. Dayton’s details mid-term education achievements

The governor’s office continues its “best of” series with a list of education improvements over the past two years.

As Gov. Mark Dayton nears the mid-point of his four-year term as governor, his office is preparing lists of the things accomplished in the state under his leadership.

On Monday, officials covered the economy.

Today, it’s education. The summary:

“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 … [he’s] also focused on helping working Minnesotans access the education and workforce training they need to compete in today’s economy.”

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And the bullet points:

  • 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 child care 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 schools and students are making progress toward graduation.
  • Encouraging Students 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 postsecondary training institutions, helping 88 Minnesota businesses improve the skills of more than 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 more than 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. More than 2,000 teachers and 30,000 students have participated in “school forest” classrooms, learning math, science, social studies and other core subjects in outdoor settings.