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This week has been exciting with the beginning of the 2012 legislative session with focus on government reform to create a more competitive business climate, high performing education and a smaller, cost-effective government.
Tuesday marked the beginning of the 2012 legislative session and the presentation of a House Resolution honoring school choice. As you know Minnesota is a leader in offering parents a variety of choices so they can choose what is best for their children.
Our agenda this year will take the ideas given to us legislators and make them work as part of Reform 2.0. Many of us traveled to dozens of cities for public meetings with business owners, local government leaders, and interested citizens to gather input on how to reform state and local government.
And, for me it meant driving thousands of miles to meet with education folks and parents to learn how to improve education for our children, our teachers and our parents. We need to modernize outdated, rigid public systems that have failed to respond to the evolving needs of Minnesota's economy and citizens.
These reforms are not a Republican agenda; these are Minnesota's agenda. (I will provide more details on the various initiatives that comprise Reform 2.0 throughout the session. In the meantime, visit www.reform2.mn for more information).
As the chair of the Education Reform Committee, I am pleased to highlight a Minnesota educational program that is receiving national attention.
Last week I joined U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Gov. Mark Dayton and Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius for a town hall meeting at Irondale High School in New Brighton. The event focused on Minnesota's current education reforms and a discussion of future efforts to create better pathways and supports for student success.
The meeting was the result of a new program at Irondale High School, poised to become Minnesota's first comprehensive early college high school, allowing students the opportunity to earn a two-year associate degree for free - all while still enrolled in high school. Through an agreement with Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Irondale will launch the program next fall, and a form of the program will eventually be expanded to Mounds View High School as well.
I would like to see other school districts take on this challenge as we all try to meet the needs of students who should prepare for manufacturing or other industrial/commercial careers that require training at one of our local industries coupled with courses in our high schools that have developed a relationship with such institutions as St. Cloud Tech, Anoka Tech or Pine Tech, to name a few. Remember, not all students need a four-year degree, at least not right away.
You can watch a video about Irondale’s program here: http://www.youtube.com/MoundsViewSchools
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to share your thoughts on the legislative session.
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