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      Expanding Early Education Opportunities: Minnesota is a National Model

      Posted on July 16, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      Governor Mark Dayton with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

      Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan visited Minnesota – drawing attention to President Barack Obama’s proposal to expand funding for early learning programs. 

      During his visit, Secretary Duncan and Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius visited a classroom at the Pond Early Childhood Center in Bloomington. Later at Bloomington Kennedy High School, Governor Mark Dayton joined Secretary Duncan and others for an education town hall meeting. 

      Under the President’s proposal, Minnesota would receive $38,700,000 in the first year of the Preschool for All program. This funding, combined with a state match, would serve about 4,736 Minnesota kids in the first year alone.

      Under Governor Dayton’s leadership, Minnesota already has invested in early education. During the past legislative session, Governor Dayton and the DFL legislature invested $600 million in E-12 education. That includes $40 million for early learning scholarships that will help more than 8,000 Minnesota kids attend high quality childcare and preschool.

      The best part about early childhood education is that it makes a big impact. Research shows that students who have access to high quality early learning opportunities are more likely to be strong readers by third grade, less likely to drop out, and more likely to graduate from high school on time – well prepared for success in college and career.

      The economic impact is significant as well. Art Rolnick, former research director at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, found that for every $1 invested in high-quality preschool education, it yields a $16 return!

      These investments are critical to closing Minnesota’s achievement gap, which is currently one of the worst in the country. Our early education initiatives will help make sure all Minnesota kids get the education they need to be successful.