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      Guaranteeing a Great Start for Minnesota Kids

      Posted on June 26, 2013 at 8:00 AM

      Governor Dayton reads to children.
      Under the new budget passed by Gov. Dayton and the legislature all Minnesota’s kids will have access to all-day kindergarten education.

      Minnesota kids were big winners at the legislature this spring. Gov. Mark Dayton and the DFL legislature emphasized education – funding high-impact programs like all-day kindergarten and early childhood education scholarships. These bold initiatives are part of the broader $485 million education bill that ensures our state’s learners get the support they need to be successful

      Programs like all-day, every-day kindergarten are proven to make a big impact in a child’s life and critical to closing Minnesota’s growing achievement gap. Unfortunately, some parents have to pay thousands of dollars for it, and some schools don’t offer it all. Currently, only 54 percent of Minnesota children are able to all-day kindergarten. A child’s access to quality education shouldn’t be limited by their parent’s income. Under the new budget passed by Gov. Dayton and the legislature all Minnesota’s kids will have access to all-day kindergarten education!

      Early childhood learning also received a major boost this year with new funding for a scholarship program. This program targets Minnesota’s achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality pre-school and child care services. The $40 million influx means that 8,000 low-income children will be able to attend high-quality pre-school programs starting this fall. 

      The combination of early childhood education scholarships and all-day kindergarten launches young Minnesotans into elementary school with the skills they to excel. The impact of these changes is far reaching – Art Rolnick, former research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found that – for every dollar invested in high quality early learning yields a $16 return on investment.  

      Widening access to strong pre-school programs will dramatically increase the impact of all-day kindergarten because a child who attends preschool is able to hit the ground running in kindergarten. Doubling kindergartners’ time in the classroom also helps ensure that our kids are better prepared for grade school and beyond.

      An investment in education is an investment in our future. And this year’s emphasis on early education ensures that Minnesota’s youngest learners get a great start.