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Positions and Views of Mark Dayton
on Education
Currently Elected Governor & Lt Governor, Minnesota
Age: 68
Party: Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party
Phone: 612.727.5220
Address: BHW Federal Building, 1 Federal Dr. Suite 298
Fort Snelling, MN 55111
Mark Dayton's positions and views on the issues:
Links are only provided where we have information. The first link is a report of all issues and questions made available to the candidates.
Education Positions and Views
Education, a General Statement

Mark continues to support the right of all children throughout the nation to a free and proper public education. Because Minnesotans value public education and believe that our young people are our most important asset, Mark strives tirelessly to provide our schools, teachers, and students with the resources necessary for high-quality education. Recently, a defunding of public education in the state has occurred, so that, Minnesota has ranked 21st among the 50 states in per pupil elementary and secondary education spending, and 32nd in smaller class size. Our average public school teacher's salary is $2,000 below the national average. And, according to the National Student Association, the average tuition for our state colleges and universities is now third highest in the nation.

Mark demands that our public schools and our children receive our full support. He strongly believes that if the federal government is going to mandate programs and policies for our local schools, it must honor its commitment to fully fund those programs and policies. Mark has led the charge to require the federal government to fully fund its share of all special education costs -- a commitment Congress made over a quarter century ago, yet still manages to fund at only 50 percent of the promised level! If the federal government honored its commitment to fully fund special education, Minnesota schools would receive approximately $250 million per year in additional federal resources.

More recently, Congress mandated a No Child Left Behind policy for our nation's schools. While Mark supports the goal of leaving no child behind in our educational system, he believes the federal No Child Left Behind policies are seriously flawed because they fail to provide the adequate resources needed to help schools achieve the goals set forth under the program. While the law has been in effect for less than 3 years, Congress has already failed to meet its financial commitment to this federal mandate, pr [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/02/2004)

Higher Education

Mark knows that Minnesota's universities, colleges, and technical schools are vital resources to our state. They provide diverse educational opportunities and many also serve as important regional centers across the state. Mark is deeply concerned that the quality of our higher education system could be adversely affected by the dire fiscal situation of the federal government and the State of Minnesota and the accompanying budgetary constraints. Mark has repeatedly fought to increase funding for Pell grants and federal student aid programs. He will continue to fight for increases for these programs so that all students can afford higher education.

The Higher Education Act (HEA) is due to be reauthorized during the 108th Congress, at which time student aid programs and the increasing costs of college tuition will be addressed. Mark looks forward to this debate and he is hopeful that Congress will finally step up its commitment to higher education.

Specifically, Mark is working to pass the following legislation:

Restore the Dream Act (S. 2423)

On May 13, 2004, Mark introduced legislation to bill to repeal the Bush tax cut on the top tax bracket and use the revenue savings from the repeal to dramatically increase funding for higher education programs, namely, Pell grants, Perkins loans, Federal work-study, SEOG (supplemental educational opportunity grants), and the Montgomery GI Bill. Historically, students financed their education with equal parts loans, grants, and work study, but increasing students are forced to rely solely on loans, loans, and more loans. Mark believes in restoring the balance in higher education financing and therefore restoring the dream that all Americans have the opportunity to pursue a higher education.

The Non-Traditional Student Success Act (S. 2360)

On April 30, 2004, Mark joined Senators Hillary Clinton and Bob Graham, in introducing the Nontraditional Student Success Act. This bill would provide comprehensive ser [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/02/2004)

Student Loans, Scholarships and Pell Grants

The Quality, Affordability, and Diversity Improvement Act (S. 1793) -- The "Quad Bill" would help current and potential students in the following ways:

Increases financial aid to middle- and low- income families by increasing Pell Grant (from $4,050 to $4,500 for max award) and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (from $800 to $1,050 for average award), as well as expanding the Helping Outstanding Pupils Educationally Scholarship tax credit, and eliminating fees for low-income students.

Doubles the size of the current $1,500 HOPE credit that goes to middle-class families, makes it refundable for low-income families, makes it available for four years of college costs instead of two, and changes the current "dollar for dollar" rule, so that receiving Pell aid does not reduce the HOPE credit for which a student is eligible

Creates a new tax credit for college debt: converts the current tax deduction for student loan interest into a tax credit for student loan interest. The maximum credit is $1,500 and is available only to middle-class and low-income borrowers

Creates a new student loan refinancing option for those now repaying their student loans so they can take advantage of low interest rates

"Direct Loans Reward Program:" For every $1 borrowed through the Direct Loan program instead of the traditional private bank FFEL program, taxpayers save 14 cents. The bill offers schools that choose to participate in the Direct Loan programs a percentage of federal savings, and earmarks that reward for campus-based financial aid. And the bill ensures that this new Direct Loan Reward Program creates no net cost to the federal government, by triggering its implementation: the Reward Program only takes effect once enough private bank FFEL schools state an intention to switch to Direct Lending. Most of the savings from that switch will go to taxpayers, but some will go to Direct Loan schools and students with financial need attending those schools.

Exempts the [Response was truncated to maximum response length of 2000 characters.]

Source: Candidate Website (10/02/2004)

No Child Left Behind Act Federal Funding Level

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has been in effect for less than three years, yet Congress has already failed to meet its financial commitment to this federal mandate. Mark supported a recent amendment that would have added $8.6 billion to fully fund NCLB. Unfortunately, that amendment was defeated by the Senate majority.

The federal Title I program for disadvantaged children -- the program primarily responsible for helping schools with additional costs associated with the NCLB Act -- received $6.2 billion less than was initially promised under the original NCLB Act. To compound the financial problems for Minnesota schools, formulas using outdated U.S. Census numbers resulted in significant reductions in Title I funding for most Minnesota school districts during the 2004-2005 school year. If this problem is not corrected, Minnesota will be one of only two states to receive an additional cut in Title I funding for the 2005-206 school year. Mark continues to press for Congressional action to prevent 325 Minnesota school districts from losing this important funding. He has successfully convinced the Senate Appropriations Committee to restore most of Minnesota's lost Title I funding. It is now up to the full Senate and the House of Representatives to accept Mark's amendment.

Mark believes we must provide adequate funding for public education immediately to restore optimal class sizes, prevent further ravaging cuts to extracurricular programs, and furnish teachers and students the textbooks and school supplies they need for the best possible education. Mark recently voted for legislation to fully fund NCLB and address these shortcomings. Once again, the amendment was defeated by the Senate majority

Source: Candidate Website (10/02/2004)

Special Education

Until Congress honors its promise to fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), our nation's schools are forced to use state and local funding to subsidize the federal government's commitment to students with disabilities. Federal IDEA funding is currently only about half of what was promised.

In 1976, the federal government promised to pay 40 percent of the additional costs of providing a free and appropriate public education for students with disabilities. This additional federal funding was promised to be appropriated for our schools by 1982 and beyond. While children with disabilities continue to receive the services guaranteed by the federal law, states and local school boards must make up the annual federal shortfalls.

Mark wants to remedy this inequity. Therefore, since being elected to the Senate, he has offered legislation, on five separate occasions, to fully fund the federal government's promised share of IDEA expenditures. Mark's efforts to require full IDEA funding have been rejected by the Senate majority. Recently, however, the Senate passed a full-funding amendment which Mark supported, but the measure was later stripped out of the final bill by the House of Representatives. If the federal government honored its commitment to fully fund its share of special education expenditures, Minnesota schools would receive approximately $250 million per year in additional federal resources -- freeing up state and local funding to reduce class sizes, invest in technology, improve curriculum, and provide all children with a safe learning environment.

Source: Candidate Website (10/02/2004)

These are available issue topics for which there were no responses.
No Child Left Behind Act, a General Statement
Sex Education and Birth Control Options
Evolution and Intelligent Design Education
Gay and Lesbian Orientation Education
Religion in Public Schools
Public Schools K-12
"Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance
Local Control Over Education
Teacher Textbook Selection
Private School Vouchers
Charter Schools
Standardized Testing
Teacher Tenure
Improving Education
Education Tax Credits
Teacher Unions
Department of Education
Head Start
High Schools
Adult Education
Community Colleges
Classroom Size
Extended Learning Time
After-School Programs
Parental Involvement
Computers in Schools
Federal Mandates
Federal Funding of Private Schools
Teacher Pay
Teacher Standards
Student Standards
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)
Education Global Superiority
Junk Food Vending Machines in Public Schools
Education Gap with Other Countries
School Choice
Home Schooling
Magnet Schools
Rural Schools
Summer School
Boy-Girl Achievement Gap
Black-White Achievement Gap
Title IX 'Equal Opportunities for Girls'
Bilingual Education
Math and Science
Art and Music
School Safety
Drugs in Schools
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