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Minnesota Milestones: measures that matter

About Minnesota Milestones

Minnesota Milestones is a tool to help Minnesotans create the future they want for themselves and for their children and grandchildren. It lays out long-term goals for the state in key areas ó the economy, the natural environment, community life, children and families, education, health and quality of government. It also takes periodic readings of the stateís progress toward each of those goals. Minnesota Milestones is coordinated by Minnesota Planning. 

Minnesota Milestones makes Minnesota one of the states that measure actual results ó not just programs or spending. It also fosters long-term accountability. Minnesota Milestones endures beyond the immediate priorities of legislative sessions, terms of elected officials and the stateís two-year budget cycle.

How Minnesota Milestones Started

Minnesota Milestones was begun by Governor Arne H. Carlson in 1991 to involve the public in setting goals for Minnesota's future.

In 1991 and 1992, thousands of people throughout Minnesota helped create the original vision and goals. People attended community meetings, wrote letters, completed surveys and commented on early drafts of the Minnesota Milestones report. The public again made suggestions to adjust Minnesota Milestones goals and indicators during a major update in 1997 and 1998.

The result: a vision for the future, 19 major goals, and 70 indicators of progress toward those goals. For example, under the goal of conserving natural resources, one indicator is how much of Minnesota's energy comes from renewable sources within the state.

Progress has been measured in 1993, 1996 and 1998. From 1990 to 1998, the state made progress on seven goals, moved backward on two goals, and had mixed results on five goals. Five others lacked timely data to judge progress in the 1990s, but improved data is being developed for future use. State agencies, local communities and other groups use this information to focus their priorities. A growing number are creating their own measures of progress.

Why measure results

  • What gets measured tends to get done.
  • If you donít measure results, you canít tell success from failure.
  • If you canít recognize success, you canít reward it or repeat it.
  • If you canít recognize failure, you canít learn from it. 

Minnesota Milestones publications: Progress reports, summary documents, and other associated reports.

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