ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — House Republicans are taking a defiant stand against Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton by proposing the elimination of his signature early childhood education program.

The proposed cuts announced Thursday are very different from Dayton's proposed $175 million addition to the program and signals that a larger fight looms as lawmakers and the governor search for compromise.

Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius says the cuts would lower standards for both teachers and students. She says they would roll back much of the progress the state has made, and several educators who spoke at the Capitol Thursday agreed.

But some other witnesses applauded the bill for funding increases to promote the hiring of teachers of color, forgive teacher loans and sort student data to attack the achievement gap between racial groups.