Date: April 27, 2004
Subject: A Statement from the Governor

Saint Paul - The following is a statement from Governor Tim Pawlenty in response to the Senate Education Committee's confirmation vote on Commissioner of Education Cheri Pierson Yecke:

"Today's vote by the Senate Education Committee was a vote against innovation, accountability and reform in education. Dr. Yecke has been taking on the status quo — and winning — which is why Senate Democrats voted along party lines to reject her.

"Throughout Minnesota history, confirmation of commissioners has been based on qualifications and fitness for service. We have never had a Commissioner of Education with better qualifications, experience and vision for reform. In just fifteen months as commissioner, she has led the overhaul of the maligned Profile of Learning and replaced it with new learning standards, established school evaluation tools so that parents can know how their schools stack up, and undertaken many other reforms.

"Imagine what the Senate Education Committee could have done if they had invested the same time and energy in improving education that they've spent tearing down a reformer.

"Today's vote had nothing to do with qualifications. It had everything to do with a Democratic Party that is void of ideas and afraid of the future."