Students in Minnesota will have to take more math and science courses to graduate from high school, under state legislation passed and signed into law this spring.
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Algebra 1 will now be required by 8th grade, and Algebra 2 and chemistry or physics will be required for graduation. This coming school year’s 3rd graders will be the first students affected.
Legislators also asked the state department of education to create a Mandarin Chinese-language program and budgeted $250,000 for the effort. Education department spokesman Randy Wenke said the program was of particular interest to Gov. Tim Pawlenty. Last year, the governor announced a Minnesota-China partnership and traveled to Beijing to encourage closer business, educational, and cultural ties.
This year’s meeting of the legislature was a nonbudget session. Schools received only $13 million more through a supplemental budget, in addition to the $12.6 billion budget passed last year for fiscal years 2006 and 2007.
Minnesota legislators last year passed “Q Comp,” a performance-based pay system for teachers under which districts will receive $260 per pupil for any participating schools, including charter schools.
So far, 22 districts have been approved for Q Comp, and 134 have signaled an interest in submitting applications, according to state data.
A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week