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Pawlenty: Reform teacher hiring

ST. PAUL - Minnesota should improve the way it hires and pays school teachers, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said as he prepared to release new education initiatives.

The governor planned to travel the state today touting the first batch of proposals he wants lawmakers to support when they return to the Capitol for the 2009 legislative session.

Half of public school teachers in Minnesota and across the country will be eligible to retire within 10 years, so this is a good time to look at reforming the way they are hired and paid, Pawlenty said Monday.

"Minnesota is blessed with some of the best teachers in the country, but even we can do better in terms of teacher quality, teacher improvement," he said.

Most of the proposals deal with existing teacher policies and funding streams so will not require "dramatic" new state money, he added.

The governor was to make five stops outside the Twin Cities, including in Duluth and Moorhead.