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

Word on the street is that the federal government is going to dole out $700 million in funding for early childhood education through a state-level, Race-to-the-Top-esque grant competition. Yet Minnesota won't have any chance of winning money if the state doesn't commit to expanding access to high-quality pre-K programs.

Last week we told you that pre-K reforms were gutted completely from the conference version of the K-12 education omnibus bill, including a pre-K quality rating system that would ensure that state dollars are only invested in high-quality programs. Minnesota spends more money on early education than almost every other state, and yet it ranks near the bottom when it comes to providing access to high-quality programs.

Lawmakers need to pass pre-k reforms this year, and with only a week left in the legislative session, the window of time for them to do so is shrinking fast. Write your legislators now and tell them that pre-K cannot be left to fall by the wayside. As Marci Young, the head of Pre-K Now, points out, “We can’t race to the top when so many children are not even at the starting line.” Similarly, Minnesota as a state can't race to the top of the states vying for a piece of the $700 million pie unless it gets itself to the starting line through a commitment to giving all of Minnesota's kids access to high-quality preschool.


Image source: 1hr photo


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