This week, most school children across Minnesota will have Thursday and Friday off for MEA Weekend, a break that happens every year and coincides with a teachers’ convention in St. Paul. As our children enjoy the long weekend, I thought I’d take the opportunity to discuss education in our state.

Education is a critical part of Minnesota’s identity. Minnesotans understand that it plays a vital role in shaping successful people. We know how it allows our children the opportunity to become a productive member of a civilized society by acquiring all of the necessary skills, including how to meet challenges and overcome obstacles.

Through education, our kids learn basic norms, rules, regulations and values of society. Moreover, by securing high-quality education for our children, we’re enabling them to lead a successful life; enhance their intelligence, skills and knowledge; and find the best opportunities.

As the father of eight children and the grandfather of 14, I’ve seen the impact education has on children a lot. That’s why it has been a critical issue to me since I first was elected to serve in the Legislature. That commitment has remained, and over the past three years I have worked hard to increase the opportunities that our children receive.

In this session alone, we increased per-pupil funding by 2%, secured $30 million for safety and security improvements and dedicated another $90 million to children with special needs.

As a former teacher and principal, I know that improving education outcomes in Minnesota cannot be exclusively decided by having our government spend more on education. If that were the case, schools in Washington, D.C., would have the best outcomes when we see that they have some of the worst.

In addition to funding our schools, we need to look at alternative methods and reforms that can combat failures and inefficiencies. This includes reforming math and science curriculums and dedicated efforts like a commitment to third-grade reading proficiency. It also includes alternatives like teacher licensure reform or expanding school choice.

Whatever the solution, we should all be working towards outcomes that empower Minnesota parents and their children.

Education lays the foundation stone for Minnesota’s future and is a prerequisite for prosperity and modernization of our state. We should always remember that getting a good education is imperative in today‘s society as it is a foundation of our successful future. Minnesota’s children’s education is worth investment, and we should continue to do what we can to ensure they succeed.

State Sen. Dan Hall is a Republican representing District 56, which covers Burnsville, Savage and some surrounding areas. He serves as chairman of the Senate’s Local Government Committee. He can be reached at 651-296-5975 or sen.dan.hall@senate.mn.

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