Minnesota's New Math

Minnesota ranked fifth in student funding in 1970 but now sits at 36th in a recent school quality national report.

"We've been slipping for a while," said Brenda Cassellius, the new education commissioner. "I don't think that's what Minnesotans want."

Education funding makes up nearly half of the state budget that is facing a $6 billion projected shortfall.

The following is from a Jan 27, Star-Tribune article headlined:

"We're at a time now where there are no more escape hatches," said Brad Lundell, director of Schools for Equity in Education. SEE, a group of 58 districts, is threatening to sue the state if funding inequities aren't fixed this year.

Minnesota's system survived a legal challenge nearly 20 years ago during easier budgetary times. But that 1993 state Supreme Court ruling also said that every student has a fundamental right to equal education. But how is that possible when the money's dried up?

The answer to that question will directly affect the state's more than 830,000 students and 52,000 teachers.

A new cast of political players will decide the issue. Gov. Mark Dayton taught school 40 years ago and has vowed to stand between the ax and education funding. But the Republican takeover makes the Legislature less beholden to the once-powerful 70,000-member teachers' union, which historically endorses DFLers.


Barbara Washington -- UTP Appontment!

Barbara Washington was recently appointed interim Executive Director of the Urban Teacher Program in the Metropolitan State University College of Professional Studies.

Barbara is an excellent professor and highly qualified for the position. She holds a B.A. in elementary education from Concordia and an M.A. in educational administration from the U of M. She is a UTP steering committee founding member and continues to serve Metro State as a community faculty member and student teacher supervisor.

According to MSU's Catalyst, Ms. Washington will hold the post for a fixed term of one year. Among her many other duties, Barbara will be responsible for leading the UTP toward its mission: increasing the number of teachers of color in urban schools. 

The UTP is extremely lucky to now have the guidance of 


Wish List

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New Year, New Direction

Governor-elect Mark Dayton has announced that Dr. Brenda Cassellius will lead Minnesota's Department of Education. She becomes the first African American to head the department. Dr. Cassellius has spent 20 years as a teacher, administrator and superintendent in Minnesota and Tennessee. She is currently Superintendent of the East Metro Integration District.