Today U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made an announcement that makes me prouder than ever to be a Minnesotan: as one of only nine states to win the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, Minnesota will receive $45 million in federal dollars to support our pre-K reform plan. A few short months ago, the Minnesota Department of Education called upon MinnCAN to drum-up community support for the state’s application. Thanks to all of you who signed our online petition and community letter of support or participating in our video, we were able to do just that.
Today’s victory validates everything Minnesota did this year to make sure all of our children start their education off right. Earlier this year we came together as a state to enact key early childhood reforms, including $4 million in scholarships for low-income families tied to a preschool rating system. With this Race to the Top money—which marks the largest investment in early learning education in Minnesota in recent years—we will be able to continue the path of pre-K reform.
As Minnesotans, we have a lot to be proud of today. And if we continue to work together to give all of our kids great public schools, I’m confident we’ll have even more to be proud of in 2012.