The vital need for better early education

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In his proposed budget, Gov. Tim Walz said he is "committed to making Minnesota the 'Education State'" and laid out what he called a historic investment. Early education is part of that plan. Walz warns that current pre-kindergarten spots could be drastically cut without a $59 million appropriation.

But is maintaining the status quo in early education services enough?

Last month, MPR hosted a panel discussion on the needs of the very youngest Minnesotans — ages 0 to 3 — and how the quality of care we receive from our first days lays the groundwork for future academic success.

The panelists:

Rachel Giannini— An early childhood advocate and former preschool teacher

Dr. Gigi Chawla— A pediatrician and chief of general pediatrics at Children's Minnesota

Luz Maria Frias— President and chief executive officer of YWCA Minneapolis

Eric Jolly— president and chief executive officer of the Saint Paul and Minnesota Foundations

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.