Inaugurated for second term, Gov. Dayton promises to focus on education

Inaugurated for his second term as Minnesota's governor today, Mark Dayton promised to focus on making the state more competitive by improving the education system.

He didn't offer many specifics -- he said those will come later, after the legislative session begins tomorrow -- but vowed to "oppose four-day school weeks, less time in classrooms, or shorter school years."

"The era of shortchanging our students' education is over," he added, to applause.

Dayton said he wants investments in year-round school options, after-school training, special help services, and advanced courses focusing on skills needed for the jobs of the future.

"Now, with a $1 billion surplus, the question is not, 'Can we afford to provide Minnesotans with the best educations?'" Dayton said. "It is, 'Can we afford to continue providing less?' The answer, obviously, is no."

The governor's call for more education funding comes as many of the state's students struggle -- especially minorities.

Within the Minneapolis School District, for instance, African-American and Hispanic students have half the graduation rate as whites.

Nonetheless, the new Republican House leader, Kurt Daudt, insists the solution involves more than spending more.

"I don't think the answer is just money," Daudt says. "We're certainly willing to look at everything. But I really think we need to analyze the problem and figure out what's going on, and there's a lot of education reforms that we can do that don't cost anything."

House leaders on both sides of the aisle tell Fox 9 they think there is common ground to work with the governor on education.