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Education Week magazine gives Minn. teaching a 'D+'

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- An annual report card from Education Week magazine gave Minnesota low marks for its teaching quality and said the state's education spending was middle-of-the-pack.

The group's "Quality Counts" annual report on K-12 education gave Minnesota a D+ for how well the state is improving its teaching. In that category, the state placed 39th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The low score came mostly from the state's lack of various teaching programs and effectiveness measures that other state's have. For example, the state was docked for lacking a statewide program to reduce class sizes.

Minnesota ranked 22nd in terms of state funding for schools and how the money is divided out.

On the upside, the report showed that Minnesota student's chances for success based on education and family factors were far better than students in most other states. In that category, Minnesota got a B+, and ranked seventh nationwide.

Education Commissioner Alice Seagren said the report will prompt more discussion of ways to improve teaching and attract more highly qualified people to the profession.

"This gives us an opportunity to really examine our policies in Minnesota," she said.

Seagren noted the state already has policies to improve math and science teaching and to link teacher pay to merit.

"We can look at this report and say, 'What are we doing and how can we grow those things?'" Seagren said.