Dayton welcomes students on first day of new school year

Gov. Mark Dayton was at an elementary school in Maplewood Tuesday morning to welcome students back after summer vacation.

The governor greeted students and parents outside Carver Elementary School. It was Dayton’s last time marking the first day of a new school year as governor. He is not seeking reelection this fall.

Dayton told reporters that he was disappointed with the state’s recent test scores, as well as persistent racial achievement gaps. But he remains optimistic about public education.

“I’m pleased with what we’re doing,” Dayton said. “I believe we’re doing everything we possibly can. Early childhood education, the experts say, is the number one thing we can do to try to close the achievement gaps.”

Dayton was joined by his education commissioner Brenda Cassellius, DFL state Sen. Susan Kent, DFL-Woodbury, state Rep. Joanne Ward, DFL-Woodbury and local school district officials.

District 622 Superintendent Christine Osorio noted that the schools in her district have embraced the early childhood education initiatives championed by Dayton.

“It’s really making a difference,” Osorio said. “We have some incredible work happening in terms of closing our achievement gaps.”

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