Gov. Mark Dayton's budget proposal released last week includes a significant increase for early childhood education.
"In this budget I am proposing an additional $92 million in support for early learning, including early learning scholarships, and other help for families to afford high quality childcare," Dayton said.
That includes $44 million in scholarships so 10,000 low- to middle-income parents can enroll their kids in quality child care centers and preschools.
Minnesota Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said spending more on preschool is the best way to make sure students are ready to start kindergarten.
"That requires an investment," Cassellius said. "We wanted to insure that all of our families and all of our children had that investment so they could get that great start."
The governor's proposal also includes $40 million to help pay for all-day every day kindergarten at Minnesota schools. Right now the state only pays for half-day kindergarten. State education officials hope to increase the number of students in all day kindergarten from just over half now to 85 percent within a few years.
A state taskforce report released in November recommended the state have "a strong foundation for every student with investments in early learning that include resources targeted toward all-day kindergarten for students living in poverty." Does the governor's proposal meet that recommendation?
Barb Yates, executive director of ThinkSmall, Mary Cecconi, executive director of Parents United for Public Schools, and Tom Dooher, president of Education Minnesota, join The Daily Circuit Monday, Jan. 28 to talk about Gov. Dayton's proposal for early childhood education.
READ MORE ABOUT EDUCATION FUNDING
Your support matters.
You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.