Ari Kiener was MinnCAN’s public affairs manager from 2013-2016.

The 2014 state legislative session is well under way, and the MinneMinds coalition is working hard to make sure all of our state’s youngest learners have access to high-quality pre-K.

MinneMinds scholarships passed the Minnesota state legislature in 2013 and are already rolling out—but not enough to meet demand. Current funding reaches only 9 percent of eligible children (at or below 185 percent of the poverty line), and kids across the state are on waiting lists, eager to gain access to pre-K that will set them up for success in kindergarten and beyond.

As an active member in the MinneMinds coalition, MinnCAN will continue to advocate for these scholarships, their increased funding and their smooth implementation. To that end, we’re happy to share that the Minnesota Department of Education is revamping the scholarship application and making it even easier for eligible families to apply to these life-changing funds.

To illustrate just how important these scholarships are, we’re proud to share a MinneMinds success story below:

A family in Greater Minnesota is happy to report that their three children are still able to attend a quality early learning program, thanks to the early learning scholarships they are so gracious to receive. 

This week's story comes from a childcare provider in Greater Minnesota. She’s witnessed firsthand a mother and father who have been hit hard by the economy.

With the father out of work, the mother became the sole income provider for their family. By the time the parents had paid for their three children to attend an early learning program at a local family childcare provider, they had absolutely nothing left of their monthly income. With no other choice, the family was forced to consider pulling all three children out of the early learning program.

Their family childcare provider was going through the Parent Aware program and was able to provide the mother and father with information about the early learning scholarships program. She even helped the mother and father apply.

News came later that their application had been accepted and all three children are currently receiving an early learning scholarship. The children were able to remain in the licensed family childcare provider's early learning program, eliminating the possibility of a gap in their education.  Both the mother and father are so gracious for the early learning scholarships their children are receiving.


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