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

The media has been abuzz with stories about early childhood education and the benefits of investing in quality pre-K. Some of this buzz is inspired by the release of a new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota that tracked 1400 individuals from age three to age 28. The study found that the individuals who attended a high-quality pre-K program “showed higher levels of educational attainment, socioeconomic status, job skills, and health insurance coverage as well as lower rates of substance abuse, felony arrest, and incarceration than those who received the usual early childhood services.”

But the evidence that great pre-K matters doesn’t stop there. A study by Vanderbilt University, for example, found that children who attended state-run pre-K in Tennessee outperformed their peers who didn't attend pre-K by an average of 82 percent in literacy and math assessments. From respected economists like Art Rolnick and Ben Bernanke to the US Chamber of Commerce to Minnesota leaders on both sides of the aisle, everyone agrees: investing in great pre-K programs yields a huge return, not just for the children who enroll in them, but the community they will live in and contribute to.

Lawmakers didn’t heed the evidence when they cut pre-K reforms during the regular legislative session, so we need to make them heed us. Our Remove the Blindfold Project is in full swing, and as you can see, we have a lot of great photos. But we still need more! So please take two minutes and upload your photo here. As the Governor and the legislature work on striking a compromise on education, they need to know they have no excuse for not doing what’s good for our children, our families and our economy.


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