Back to the days of Dayton

The Spectrum gets an exclusive interview with Blake alumnus Mark Dayton


ecently, The Spectrum spoke with Blake alumus and Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton ‘65. With this opportunity, we asked him about his education at Blake and what he has subsequently done for education in Minnesota.



Spectrum: What is the most important thing you learned at Blake? 

Governor Dayton: I learned to work hard so that I could get where I wanted to go.

S: What is the most memorable moment that you have from your time at Blake, maybe a teacher or a class?

GD: My chemistry and physics teacher my junior and senior year was named Harold Hodgkinson and he would never tell us ahead of time when we were going to have a test. So he would walk in on a test day and look at us and say “There will be,” and then there would be a pause, “a test today.” That would send shivers of fear down my spine. It taught me to always come prepared, absolutely.

S: How do you think coming from a private school has affected your view on education?

GD: It underscores the importance of quality education. It also persuades me of the value of coeducation, which we did not have when I was going to Blake. We need to provide the financial resources for small class sizes and excellent teachers and technology that is necessary to be successful.

S: What is the most important thing you have done concerning education in your first term?

GD: I promised in my campaign that I would increase funding for K – 12 education every year that I was governor with no excuses and no exceptions, and I have kept that promise thus far. Also, all day kindergarten will be part of the use of that money. Every elementary school in Minnesota will be able to offer all-day kindergarten free of charge to all parents and their children.

S: What do you still want to do concerning education?

GD: There is so much left to do. We want to expand the early childhood education programs that we began really just in the past couple years, which will allow children at younger and younger ages [to attend] which will be crucial to eliminating the achievement gap.

We want to better align the curricula and the programs that are for higher education institutions, for colleges and universities, with the jobs of the future.

S: What advice would you give to students who are going to vote for the first time in November of 2014?

GD: It’s a great privilege to have the right to vote in this country. If you look around the world, most people do not have the freedom to select their leaders. They are imposed on them so the right to vote is one of the most special privileges that we have as American citizens, and I would encourage people to vote.



Writer’s note: The process of obtaining this interview with the Governor was suprisingly easy; it included completing a contact form that required basic information about the nature of the contact request and working with Dayton’s press secretary to arrange a meeting time. For the sake of time, the interview was conducted over the phone.

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