States State of the States

Bonuses for Schools Sought in Minnesota

By Vaishali Honawar — January 23, 2007 1 min read
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Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who pushed successfully for a performance-pay program for Minnesota teachers in 2005, now wants to extend that concept to schools.

In his Jan. 17 State of the State address, Gov. Pawlenty, a Republican, announced an initiative that would give individual schools at all levels a 2 percent performance bonus for reaching and maintaining proficiency on state tests in reading and mathematics.

“We need to pay for performance and quit enabling schools that don’t meet our expectations,” Gov. Pawlenty said about the initiative, which he called “Successful Schools.” He will set aside $150 million for the bonus program in his upcoming budget.

The governor also proposed performance bonuses for high schools, and unrolled an ambitious agenda for improving such schools.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty

“In too many cases, our high school students are bored, checked-out, coasting, not even vaguely aware of their post-high-school plans, if they have any, and they are just marking time,” he said.

Gov. Pawlenty proposed setting aside $75 million in funding for high schools that choose to implement rigorous courses, including career and technical courses, offer college-credit opportunities, and give students opportunities to pursue work-based learning and internships.

In such schools, which he called “3R” schools for their focus on “rigor, relevance, and results,” every student would have to earn a full year of college credit while still in high school. Additional funding also would be offered to schools to provide Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.

Pointing to global competition, the governor said he would ask the legislature to provide more funding for schools to focus on science, technology, engineering, and math. Also on his wish list for the legislature are tougher math standards for all students and four years of a second language as a graduation requirement.

“Now, this may all seem like a big leap, but the bar is very high,” Gov. Pawlenty said.

Read a complete transcript of Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s 2007 State of the State address.
A podcast of the speech is also available. Posted by Minnesota’s Office of the Governor.

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A version of this article appeared in the January 24, 2007 edition of Education Week


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