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MN education task force recommends changing funding, tests

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A state task force on education reform spent Tuesday tackling thorny questions about testing, funding and other school-related conundrums. The panel recommended overwhelmingly that Minnesota junk its tests that high schoolers will soon be required to pass in order to get a diploma.

Those tests are backed by business groups including the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, but critics of the exams say there's no evidence they improve student achievement. The Star Tribune reports the math test in particular has sparked criticism. Passing the test won't be required for graduation until 2015, but currently nearly one-third of the state's high school students fail it.

Another long-simmering issue is the question of state funding. Under the current system state payments have not kept up with rising costs for transportation, special ed, and required tests. The task force's suggestions are aimed at simplifying the system and giving school districts more stability when it comes to planning.

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