Minn. House OKs $15B Education Bill With Free All-Day Kindergarten

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Minnesota House decided Tuesday to pay for free all-day kindergarten statewide, to make early-childhood education programs more affordable and to pump more money into K-12 classrooms ­— the promised goodies from tax hikes the DFL majority is expected to take up later this week.

The House, by an 83-50 vote, passed a $15.7 billion K-12 education-funding bill with heady hopes of creating the “world’s greatest workforce” by wiping out the achievement gap affecting minority students and achieving 100 percent high school graduation by the time today’s preschoolers graduate from high school in 2027.

The House also voted to eliminate requirements that high school students achieve a certain score on reading, writing and math tests in order to graduate, a move that was recommended by a state task force but which has been opposed by business groups. Wearing buttons reading “Don’t Dumb Down Our Diploma,” GOP members sought unsuccessfully to restore the minimum “cut score” for graduation.

Rep. Paul Marquart, DFL-Dilworth, chair of the House Education Finance Committee, said the bill represented a $550 million increase over the current level. Combined with higher education increases to be taken up later this week, the education measures represent the main new initiatives of the DFL majority.

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