Date: May 28, 2004
Subject: Governor praises new standards, Yecke

The office of Governor Tim Pawlenty issued this press release on Wednesday:

Roseville -- Governor Tim Pawlenty today signed into law a bill that puts in place new academic standards for science and social studies, praising former Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke for turning a major challenge into results. The new standards represent a compromise between the House and Senate versions and turned out to be one of the few accomplishments of the 2004 legislative session.

"When I asked Dr. Yecke to move home to Minnesota to lead our administration's education reform efforts, the number one challenge I laid out was to repeal the Profile of Learning and replace it with real standards," said Governor Pawlenty. "Some might say that it was the enormity of the task that made her the target of such bitter partisanship. We all can stand here today with Dr. Yecke, heads held high, proud of this major accomplishment for Minnesota."

Governor Pawlenty pointed out that Commissioner Yecke brought educators together to forge a compromise between the two different social studies documents before the DFL-controlled Senate removed her from office.

"These new standards reflect the hard work of many people and represent a giant step toward higher academic achievement," said Governor Pawlenty. "When joined with our new standards in math and reading, Minnesota has completed the transition to rigorous, grade specific standard-based instruction."

The science standards included in the bill were identical to those created by a citizen committee appointed by Commissioner Yecke and approved by the Minnesota Senate. School districts have until the 2005-06 school year to transition to the new science and social studies standards.

New tests based on the science standards will be implemented in order to comply with the requirements of No Child Left Behind. There will be no statewide test for social studies.

"I am proud of the open process we used to create these standards for Minnesota's schools," added Dr. Yecke. "Involving parents and educators in the development of the standards gives us the confidence they will be right for students for years to come."