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Gov. Doug Burgum, right, announces the formation of his Innovative Education Task Force during a press conference at the state Capitol on Tuesday in Bismarck. Also commenting on the task force were, from left, Nick Archuleta, of North Dakota United, Sen. Erin Oban, D-Bismarck, Sen. Donald Schaible, R-Mott, and Kirsten Baesler, state superintendent of public instruction. Mike McCleary / Bismarck Tribune

Gov. Burgum announces creation of education task force

BISMARCK — Gov. Doug Burgum on Tuesday, Sept. 12, announced the creation of a new task force to improve public education in the state.

Burgum's Innovative Education Task Force will identify ways to enhance K-12 education by promoting new, creative methods of teaching. The group will meet over a 15-month period and provide recommendations to the governor and the state Legislature.

"In January, at the State of the State (address), I made a very strong statement where I said that I believe North Dakota could lead the nation in transforming education," Burgum said Tuesday. "And here we are less than nine months later, and I feel even more strongly than ever that this is true, and I do in part because of all the people that are standing here together on a stage that are committed to the same goal."

Burgum was joined at the state Capitol Tuesday by State Superintendent Kirsten Baesler and other educational leaders, including Nick Archuleta, president of North Dakota United, and Aimee Copas, executive director of the North Dakota Council of Educational Leaders. Sens. Erin Oban and Donald Schaible also joined the governor in announcing the creation of the new task force.

"We need to hear from task forces like this at the state level as we move forward and really try to embrace the vision of Superintendent Baesler and Gov. Burgum on where we're taking education in the future," said Oban, who chairs the interim education policy committee.

Burgum said there need to be changes to the current way education is delivered in the state to better align with a 21st century economy and the rapid advancement of technology. The task force was originally announced in June at the Governor's Summit on Innovative Education at Legacy High School in Bismarck.

"The current educational system that we have today ... is really at a crossroads. We're faced with both an unprecedented set of challenges, in terms of how education is delivered, but we're faced with even a greater set of opportunities to really transform how we change our educational system and our approaches to meet the needs of the 21st century economy," Burgum said.

Baesler applauded the governor's new task force and said North Dakota is well-positioned to rethink the way education is delivered in the state. Examples include creating more more project-based learning opportunities and hands-on teaching.

"I'm very excited to see how this innovative task force will better inform our work for our students of North Dakota," she said.

The task force is accepting applications for 11 to 15 members, who will represent a cross-section of people across North Dakota, including educators, those involved in youth development, business and community leaders. Both Baesler and Burgum will serve as ex-officio members. The group will first meet Oct. 12.

For more information and to apply, visit the "Boards" section at