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Public Education Funding Reform: The "Minnesota Miracle of 1971": Overview

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"The Minnesota Miracle: A Roundtable Discussion," by Steven Dornfeld.
In Minnesota History, vol. 60, no. 8 (winter 2007-8): pp. 312-325.
St. Paul, Minn.: Minnesota Historical Society, 2007
MNHS call number: Reading Room F601.5 .M66 v.60:8 

Minnesota's Miracle: Learning from the Government that Worked, by Tom Berg.
Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 2012.
MNHS call number: JK6141 .B47 2012
Minnesota Historical Society. : Minnesota Miracle Discussion Records, 1967-1971, 2006-2007.
Records documenting and related to a roundtable discussion of the issues relevant to the Minnesota Miracle that was sponsored by the Minnesota Historical Society in 2007 and took place at the History Center in St. Paul, Minnesota.
MNHS call number: See the finding aid in the library (P2682)
Citizens League Records.
This collection contains records of a nonpartisan, citizens, public affairs research, and educational organization based in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The group is organized into committees that research current affairs issues affecting various aspects of community life. The collection contains research reports and subject files in several fields, including education.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid


The Minnesota Miracle of 1971 resulted from a ten-year effort to restructure Minnesota's fiscal policy. Major contributors to the effort were Paul Gilje, then research director of the Citizens League; Representative Charles R. Weaver of Anoka; the Metropolitan Council; the 1967-1971 Republican legislatures; and state Senator Wendell Anderson, the 1970 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, elected governor, who campaigned on a pledge to make sweeping changes in the financing of schools and of local governments.

Rising public discontent with soaring property taxes created the ferment for needed reform of long-established policies: local governments and school districts were financed solely through autonomously levied property taxes; municipalities were forced to compete for commercial-industrial development to boost their tax base; and disparities in the quality of education between property-tax-rich and property-tax-poor districts were egregious. Reform laws enacted to resolve those issues, taken together, came to be known as the Minnesota Miracle of 1971. The Minnesota Miracle survived, relatively unchanged, for more than 30 years until 2002, when the property tax structure was again revised by legislative action.

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