State Rep. Erin Murphy said Tuesday that if elected governor, she would build on Gov. Mark Dayton’s priority of investing in early education.
Murphy, who has been endorsed by Dayton and the DFL, debuted her education agenda alongside the governor after the two toured Head Start classrooms at Community Action Partnership in St. Paul. She is competing in the Aug. 14 DFL primary with U.S. Rep. Tim Walz and Attorney General Lori Swanson, who also discussed education plans this week.
In the Head Start classrooms, there were a singalong or two, high-fives and hugs. Then Murphy presented such goals as extending early learning program scholarships for children 3 years old and younger. She would also invest in a more diverse teacher workforce and expand college-readiness programs for low-income students and students of color to combat the state’s racial gap in education outcomes, which is one of the nation’s worst.
“Investing in education from early learning and all the way through our K-12 and preparation for college education and technical education is the way that we have built our future,” Murphy said.
GOP lawmakers opposed Dayton’s $138 million proposal this year to shore up schools’ budget shortfalls. The expansion of early childhood education has been a cornerstone of Dayton’s time in office.
On Monday, Swanson announced she would appoint a “career and technical education czar” to act as a coordinator and help students get training and find jobs in fields where there are not enough workers, such as health care.
“Above all, the coordinator should be a champion for creating opportunities for students to get middle class jobs and be part of the Ownership Society in every way, shape, and form,” Swanson’s campaign said in a news release.
Walz also addressed educational equity Monday at the new Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig high school on the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe reservation. He had worked to secure federal funding for the school.