“Let’s agree on what we agree on and get that done.” So said Senator Al Franken last week when Education Secretary Arne Duncan was in town to discuss the renewal of the No Child Left Behind law.
That is exactly the attitude Minnesota’s leaders need to take to get pre-K reforms enacted this year. At the start of the legislative session, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle said they supported reforms that would ensure Minnesota families’ access to quality preschool, including a quality rating system to help parents navigate the state’s maze of pre-K options. Yet despite that consensus, pre-K was still cut from the final education omnibus bill, thanks to late-night political wheeling and dealing.
In light of the Governor’s veto of the omnibus bill, lawmakers are back to the negotiation table to hammer out a compromise bill on education that will pass when a special session is called. That’s the perfect opportunity for us to stand up as Minnesotans and send one message to state leaders: remove the blindfold from Minnesota families and enact the pre-K quality rating system, which everyone already agrees is a good idea.
We just launched our Remove the Blindfold Project, in which we’re urging Minnesotans to upload a photo of themselves posing blindfolded with their kids, and already we have a lot of great pictures! (Check out all of the adorable Minnesota kids posing with their blindfolded parents here). But we need all the photos we can get. So please, grab a blindfold, a camera and the kids who are special in your life (they don't have to be your own!), and snap a picture. We’ve already seen that even smart policies that everyone agrees on can fall by the wayside; this is our chance to make sure that doesn’t happen again.
Parents shouldn’t be in the dark when it comes to choosing a high-quality pre-K program for their child. So in the words of Senator Franken, “let’s agree on what we agree on and get that done.”