After distributing awards to Minnesota top teachers and school administrators, Gov. Mark Dayton hit back at those who in his view would tear educators down.

"When the comments here legislation here is all negative and all directed toward an indictment that suggests everything's bad about our public education (system) in Minnesota, it's very unfair, it's very misguided and it's very destructive. So occasions like this are important to recognize those who, as I say, aren't recognized and aren't seeking recognition," Dayton said.

The governor made his comments at a Capitol ceremony at which he distributed awards to the following teachers: the 2011 superintendent of the year (Scott Staska of the ROCORI schools), the 2010 Minnesota national distinguished principal (Stanford Nelson of Detroit Lakes schools) the middle school principal of the year (Jeff Scherber of Monticello schools), high school principal of the year (Efe Agbamu of South Washington County schools), 2010 Minnesota teacher of the year (Ryan Vernosh of St. Paul schools), a Milken educator award recipient (Carolyn Ruhnow of Lino Lakes schools) and another Milken educator award recipient (Jennifer Mitchell of Minneapolis schools.)

Dayton called the educators "true Minnesota heroes."

The governor also said he would object to any education budget that funds early childhood programs, which he supports, through cutting integration aid, received by big city schools.

"It's not about pitting three year olds against third graders or three month olds against kindergarteners," he said.


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