BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. — Gov. Tim Walz and other state leaders spent some time in the Twin Cities North Metro greeting students for the first day of school.
Students and staff were greater with high-fives, hugs and handshakes from the governor, Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and Minnesota Department of Education commissioner Dr. Heather Muller Tuesday morning as students arrived.
The three used their time to reiterate their support for students and teachers as the new school year begins.
“The governor and I have made it very clear that making Minnesota the best place to raise a child is our agenda,” said Flanagan. “Having strong public schools that are funded is a really important part of that.”
This school year is unique as students finally get to return to the classroom full time for the first time since the pandemic.
It also comes as the most recent state assessments show Minnesota students are struggling in reading and math with the pandemic partly to blame.
Educators have also stressed the need for more mental health resources.
“We’d like to be able to have academic supports and mental health supports and so we have a number of pieces that are in place and our schools have been really helping to prioritize that mental health,” said Mueller.
Walz also highlighted the importance for hiring good teachers who are paid fairly during the ongoing teacher shortage districts across the state are facing.
“I want to attract the best and brightest,” he said. “They’re not in that room to get rich but they didn’t take an oath of poverty either. They don’t need to be working three jobs that I hear many of our teachers doing just to get by.”
They also touched on the continued fight for making free meals universal for all Minnesota students. Money has been set aside during the last several budgets but has never successfully passed.
They plan on introducing bills in the upcoming legislative session for more mental health resources for students in particular funding for more support personnel – including various types of counselors and social workers.
Source: CBS Minnesota