Gov. Walz announces new education plan, doesn’t mention cost or funding source

The two-page plan mentions vague goals but gives no hard metrics to achieve.

Minnesota Governor's Office/Youtube

(The Center Square) – On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz announced the Due North Education Plan, and several officials touted it but didn’t mention how it would be funded.

The two-page plan mentions vague goals but gives no hard metrics to achieve.

Officials claimed the Due North Education Plan aims to ensure every child in Minnesota receives a high-quality education, no matter their race or zip code.

“As a former classroom teacher for over 20 years, I’ve seen firsthand how a high-quality education shapes students’ lives for years to come,” Walz said in a statement. “The Due North Education Plan guides us toward a future where every child receives a high-quality education, no matter their race or zip code.”

The plan claims to help students recover from learning loss this year while also closing the opportunity gap.

The plan is built from the Governor’s Education Roundtable, the School Finance Working Group, the Minnesota Department of Education’s Strategic Plan, and input from educators, school leaders, education organizations, students, and families.

“One of the powers of the governor’s office is to convene Minnesotans, and that is exactly what we’ve been doing for the past two years,” Walz continued. “Our announcement today is the result of countless conversations with educators, school leaders, education organizations, students and families with diverse viewpoints. This plan was built by Minnesotans, for Minnesotans.”

Commissioners claimed the plan would require a change of funding but didn’t elaborate.

“In order for there to be fundamental change in our education system we must also change the way we fund it,” Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said. “The proposals from the School Finance Working Group that are embedded in the Due North Plan will help ensure that students across Minnesota will receive the same educational opportunities no matter where they live in our state.”

When directly asked how much the program will cost, Walz dodged the question and said he would “go more into the details tomorrow.”

The plan says it will support students during and after the COVID-19 pandemic, reform school financing, expand opportunities for students in Greater Minnesota, and form a diverse teaching workforce.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, criticized the two-page plan that promises to achieve a far-ranging number of goals.

“It is not meant to be a comprehensive education plan,” he tweeted. “It is meant to be a headline and message for a good news cycle.”

Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, responded to an apparent tax hike in Walz’s budget to be released Tuesday.

“Tomorrow, the governor comes out with his budget, and I’ve heard over the weekend that he’s going to raise taxes again,” Gazelka said in a video statement. “That didn’t surprise me. I can tell you right now, we are not raising taxes. We have a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, but we have enough other resources that we don’t need to raise taxes on anyone.”