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

Just as the Governor and legislature began their backroom negotiations to work out a budget deal, the federal government announced yet another reason why Minnesota needs a pre-K quality rating system: millions of dollars in new Race to the Top grant money for pre-K hang in the balance.

Governor Dayton has already announced the state’s intention to apply for our share of the $500 million

Early Learning Challenge. But without a quality rating system, our odds of winning the competition are slim to none.

I’m asking you to join me in sending a clear message to our state’s leaders: its time to take the blindfold off Minnesotans when it comes to choosing a quality pre-K program for their child.

As a mom and a former preschool teacher, I know first hand the difference a quality program can make. MinnCAN’s Remove the Blindfold Project is a new photo campaign to show our lawmakers that without a quality rating system, they are leaving all Minnesota families in the dark when it comes to making a smart decision for their children.

See the pictures of other Minnesotans who’ve joined the campaign and upload your own photo here.

Everyone agrees that a pre-K quality system is crucial: researchers, parents, preschool providers, Republicans and Democrats alike. But lawmakers failed to heed that consensus during the regular legislative session.

Minnesota can still create a system to remove the pre-K blindfold from Minnesota families and boost our state’s chances of winning millions in much-needed dollars.

I hope you will join me in this powerful campaign.


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