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.
In 2011, thanks to the leadership of the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Dayton, Minnesota began the statewide expansion of Parent Aware to gauge the quality of 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 children are enrolled in state-funded pre-K, compared to 28 percent nationally. To make sure all Minnesota kids arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, I urge you to support the MinneMinds proposal to invest $185 million in early education and care scholarships for all 3- and 4-year-olds living at or below 185 percent of the poverty line. This is one investment worth making. Here’s why:
Investing in high-quality early education will bring big returns. From local research, we know that Minnesota can expect up to $16 in return for every $1 invested in quality pre-K. This return comes from the long-term social and economic benefits associated with providing widely accessible, high-quality pre-K education, including less spending on crime and welfare, and increased tax revenue garnered from higher earnings.
Kids benefit from quality pre-K throughout their education. They score higher on math and reading tests in their K–12 years, and they’re more likely to graduate from high school and enroll in college.
Quality pre-K changes lives. Research confirms that kids who attended pre-K are more financially stable, better satisfied with their family lives and less likely to abuse drugs or go to prison.
More than 60 organizations comprise the MinneMinds campaign, including nonprofits, businesses, labor and philanthropists. I’m impressed that our community is so aligned and coordinated on how to strengthen public education, and I hope I can count on your support to fully fund the MinneMinds proposal.