Vallay Varro was a founding state executive director. She now serves as the president of 50CAN.

Yesterday a huge but quiet blow was dealt to early childhood education in Minnesota: the House slashed a plan to create a pre-K rating system from the education omnibus bill they voted on yesterday. This plan would have cleared a path to quality pre-K for Minnesotan families by identifying and rewarding high-quality early childhood programs. It would have also offered support to low-income families so they too could make sure their children start their education off on the right foot.

The evidence shows that early childhood education plays a decisive role in a child’s future educational success. And given that this plan wouldn’t cost the state any additional dollars, it is an easy—yet crucial—investment to make in Minnesota’s children. In fact, not implementing this plan will be more costly, because there will be no accountability for how state funding for pre-K education is spent.

Fortunately there is still hope. The Senate is taking up its version of the education omnibus bill today, and it's possible that senators will add the pre-K rating system as an amendment. But whether or not that happens today, Minnesotans like you still need to speak up and tell lawmakers that creating a system to help families send their children to the best preschool programs is something that needs to happen this year. Stay tuned, because we'll soon have an opportunity for you to join the debate and get involved in supporting this critical issue. 


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