Minnesota is about to bring home a huge win for our littlest learners. MinneMinds–a statewide campaign representing more than 60 organizations from business, advocacy, funders, nonprofits, labor and providers–is leading an effort at the Minnesota Legislature to provide all low-income 3- and 4-year-olds with access to high-quality pre-K.
But Minnesota legislative leadership needs to hear from you. Please urge Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk to fully fund the MinneMinds proposal of $150 million per year so low-income kids can access quality early learning programs proven to prepare them for lifelong success.
Research from The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Wilder Research and the University of Minnesota indicate the solution represents less than one-fifth of the problem: Minnesota currently pays approximately $850 million each year as a result of kids not entering kindergarten ready. This hefty price tag comes as a result of costs associated with remedial education, reduced income and tax base, and crime and prison.
In 2011, Gov. Dayton committed the state to quality early education by expanding Parent Aware–a rating system that gauges the quality of our state’s early education and care programs. Now that Minnesota families are starting to find the best program for their kids, we must invest in providing low-income kids with access to high-quality pre-K.
Only 2 percent of our 4-year-old kids are enrolled in state-funded pre-K, compared to 28 percent nationally. This pre-K access gap makes Minnesota’s low-income children less likely to arrive to kindergarten with basic proficiency in math and literacy. Unfortunately, too many of these children never catch up to their classmates.
MinneMinds is one investment worth making.