Gov. Mark Dayton signs K-12 education bill - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Gov. Mark Dayton signs K-12 education bill establishing all-day kindergarten

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday signed a new K-12 education bill, creating all-day kindergarten and scholarships for early childhood learning.

When asked whether more education spending will mean success for Minnesota students, Dayton said "more money for education doesn't absolutely guarantee success, but less money for education absolutely guarantees failure."

The North St. Paul School District says it's already seen payoffs in student achievement. In 2007, test scores found third through fifth grade students had reading proficiency rates of 67 percent -- but after all-day kindergarten began, those rates jumped to 75 percent.

Math proficiencies saw a similar jump, from 69 percent to 77 percent, in the district. Furthermore, Principal Jim Miklausich said the all-day kindergarten also reduced the achievement gap between white and minority pupils.

"The information that we've been able to gather here in North St. Paul would show that our MCA test scores have risen incrementally over the years that we've had the all-day K," he said. "We've been able to track it all the way up through third, fourth and fifth grade."

The $15.7 billion education bill is about $485 million more than the state spends now.

As part of the bill, most parents will have access to free, all-day kindergarten beginning fall of 2014. The bill allots $40 million in scholarships for lower-income families to send their kids to quality preschools, and another $40 million to special education.

The bill also raises the age at which students can drop out of high school from 16 to 17.

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