MinneMinds Coalition Statement on Governor Dayton’s Veto of Education Bill


MinneMinds Coalition Statement on Governor Dayton’s Veto of Education Bill

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – May 19, 2015 – Today, Frank Forsberg, chair of the MinneMinds Coalition, made the following statement regarding Governor Dayton’s veto of the education bill passed by the Minnesota legislature:

“Governor Dayton has been an ardent supporter of early learning and with his leadership early childhood education has become one of the premier issues for the state. Under his tenure, Minnesota has seen an unprecedented increase in funding for Minnesota’s youngest learners and become a national leader in policy innovation. The Governor’s veto of the education bill passed by the legislature is a clear  example of his genuine devotion to doing what he thinks is right for Minnesota’s children.


Hear From Kasey

Scholarships for early ed mean choice


Frank Forsberg, Star Tribune
March 16, 2015

A recent commentary (“Vouchers are wrong for preschool,” Feb. 19) made this central point: “Giving parents assistance to access quality early-education services in the private market while also ensuring that there is a public option for families who prefer it should not be controversial.”

The MinneMinds coalition wholeheartedly agrees, and that’s precisely what the Early Learning Scholarships we support do. Scholarships can be used at school-based programs. But scholarships also can be used at high-quality early-education programs operating out of centers, churches, nonprofit organizations and homes — many of which are located in low-income areas.

Scholarships are a both/and solution.

Key House committee rejects universal, all-day preschool bill


Hank Long, Waseca County News
February 24, 2015

A bill that would give school districts the opportunity to offer all-day preschool to 4-year-olds stalled Tuesday in the House Education Innovation Policy Committee.

Rep. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) began her push for universal, voluntary pre-kindergarten in the public schools during the 2014 legislative session, saying Minnesotans are frustrated with the Legislature’s delay in fully investing in early learning opportunities for all children. This year, the proposal came forth in the form of HF46.

It would allow eligibility for children who are 4 years old on Sept. 1 and not enrolled in kindergarten to participate in a universal, all-day preschool program run by public schools.

After several hours of testimony on the bill, including an initial hearing last week, the committee voted 11-8 along party lines to reject the bill.

A companion, SF6, sponsored by Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin), was tabled Jan. 21 by the Senate E-12 Budget Division.

Committee Chair Rep. Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton) reminded Murphy and committee members that HF844 – which contains Gov. Mark Dayton’s K-12 education budget proposal in bill form – includes a version of universal, voluntary preschool similar to Murphy’s bill and that it will receive continued discussion in the coming weeks…

More than Daycare: Resarch Shapes New Focus on Early Learning


Heidi Enninga, WDIO – Duluth
February 24, 2015

When parents drop kids off at daycare each morning they expect their little ones will be in a safe and fun environment, but local providers and early childhood experts now say expectations about daycare are changing in order to make sure kids start kindergarten on par with their peers.

Daycare providers are the people you entrust to make sure your children not only have enough to eat, but the right things to eat, and that they have lots of time to play and stretch their minds.

It’s all because children under five are already on their education journey even though they’re spending their days in daycare and not yet a classroom. Even these early years before kindergarten are some of the most critical for learning.

Lynn Haglin, Kids Plus Director with the Northland Foundation said research has changed the line of thinking about early childhood.

“We now know so much about early brain development,” Haglin said.

In fact, by the time your child reaches kindergarten age, 90 percent of brain development is already complete.

“People are becoming more and more aware, from even prior to birth, that learning is taking place.”

So some Northland providers are trying to do even more for their kids. April Hall runs Aunty’s Daycare in West Duluth. Already she tries to expose the children at her daycare to nutrition and health information.

“My daycare kids can tell you what vitamins are in a lemon, what part of your body it’s good for. that avocados are good for your brain,” Hall said.

These providers are going beyond the minimum health and safety standards required for daycare licensing.

Mary Young has been a daycare provider in Carlton for 32 years and said there’s pressure from schools.

“The schools want us to get children ready, and that’s talked about more and more,” Young said.

The Northland Foundation said that in 2003, just 50 percent of children entered kindergarten fully prepared. That number has increased over the years. Now, the Minnesota Department of Education reports school readiness is at 70 percent. That’s thanks in part to a big push on healthy development in children birth to age five.

This month, nearly 370 childcare providers got training in Duluth from a program called Parent Aware Pathways. It teaches those caring for kids how to capitalize on the window of opportunity in early childhood.



MN near bottom in on-time graduation for students of color


Tim Post,MPR
February 19, 2015

For the third year in a row, Minnesota lags the rest of the country in on-time graduation for students of color.

Fewer than 60 percent of the state’s black and Hispanic students graduate in four years, according to an MPR News analysis of the most recent federal data on state graduation rates, from the 2012-13 school year. The rate for the state’s Native American students is the second worst in the nation at 49 percent.

Minnesota has the worst or second-worst graduation rates among reporting states in all four non-white student categories. No other state is in the bottom five in all four groups, and only Oregon comes close with three races in the bottom five.

Governor’s pre-K proposal misses the mark


Rep. Sondra Erickson, Union Eagle
February 17, 2015

Among Governor Mark Dayton’s $42 billion budget proposal is more than $100 million in funding for pre-kindergarten programs for 4-year olds in our public schools.
I agree that it may be important to improve access to quality pre-kindergarten to close our state’s achievement gap.  However, the Governor’s proposal ends up being a costly approach that does not specifically target students who are in the most need and takes choice away from parents. Moreover, it will definitely cause the closure of many of our in- home or private centers for childcare.
Those who spend precious hours caring for our little ones, including four-year-olds, provide families with the early learning experiences our children need.th/and solution.