The K-12 omnibus bill got a lot of attention this week when it was passed by the state legislature: people have a lot to say about what’s in it, including us. But even as we're discussing everything that's in it, we can’t forget to talk about what was left out: a policy that would expand Minnesota families' access to quality pre-K.
Our latest research explains why pre-K is so important and what Minnesota can do to make sure all of its children start kindergarten off on the right foot. In our new issue brief, Clearing the path to quality pre-K, we take a closer look at the research on early learning and its links to success later in life, and the serious shortcomings of Minnesota’s current system. Then we offer solutions that arise from successful pilot programs, as well as research and experience from across the country. The solutions include better information for parents, scholarship programs to expand choices and incentives to reward Minnesotans who provide and support high-quality early-learning opportunities.
None of these solutions were in the K-12 omnibus bill, because reforms were stripped entirely, including a provision to allocate scholarship funding and link public funding to quality. Without this policy, Minnesota will continue to fund early education services without obligation to quality or providing parents with the critical information they need to make the best choices for their children’s learning.
We need to tell legislators that Minnesota needs a pre-K quality rating system. Please take action by writing a letter letting your legislators know that we are on the lookout for new opportunities this year for them to right this wrong.
The door to a quality pre-K system might seem closed for now, but when a new door opens, we want to be ready to tell lawmakers that we expect them to fix their mistake and enact a rating system for Minnesota preschools.