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DFL lists education priorities

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Senate Democrats put high priorities on ending the state's teacher shortage, increasing the number of school counselors and expanding schooling for 4 year olds.

ST. PAUL -- Minnesota Senate Democrats put high priorities on ending the state's teacher shortage, increasing the number of school counselors and expanding schooling for 4 year olds.

The senators announced their plan Monday, including offering student loan forgiveness and other financial incentives to attract new teachers.

"Schools across the state are struggling to find qualified applicants for a variety of positions -- from math, science and special ed to agriculture and career and tech ed," Sen. Kevin Dahle, D-Northfield, said.

Agriculture teachers, especially, are in short supply.

"Agriculture is the state’s second largest employer and vital to Minnesota’s economy," Sen. Vicki Jensen, D-Owatonna, said. "It creates high-paying jobs that include not only the traditional roles on the farm, but also opportunities in biochemistry, communications and engineering fields."

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Sen. Susan Kent, D-Woodbury, wants more student counselors in schools.

"Whether you come from a family with a strong support system, or no support system at all -- every school student can benefit in some way from a school counselor or support staff," Kent said. "School nurses, psychologists, social workers, chemical dependency counselors and others all work to help our students stay healthy and succeed in the classroom and beyond."

Related Topics: EDUCATION
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