Late last night lawmakers completely removed early childhood education reforms from the education finance omnibus bill, including a provision that would allocate scholarship funding and links public funding to quality. This means that 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.
In every other area of budget deliberations, this legislature has been rightfully demanding accountability in spending, but they are taking a pass on this one.
“What the legislature did in the dark hours of last night was tighten the blindfold over Minnesota preschool parents’ eyes,” MinnCAN Executive Director Vallay Varro said. “If the legislature is serious about closing the achievement gap then they have got to give parents a rating system for pre-K. The legislature is not listening to research, which proves that quality early childhood education is a vital and necessary strategy in closing the achievement gap. They’re not listening to the public, who has strongly supported a pre-K rating system. And they’re not listening to the recommendations of the very organization they established through legislative action in 2005.”
“MinnCAN’s message to the legislature is that we are not giving up,” Varro said. “Although the door to enacting this smart policy may look closed right now, we will be watching carefully and expect that if and when an opportunity arises to right this wrong, policy makers will do so by enact a rating system for Minnesota preschools.”