Editorial: Coordinating ideas around Minnesota’s early-childhood work

While research confirms the value of early- childhood advocates’ efforts, a hometown lawmaker observed that their work wasn’t necessarily in sync.

When he arrived at the Minnesota Capitol after his election in 2014, Rep. Dave Pinto — long interested in the issue — expected to find clarity about an agenda and direction, based on growing consensus about the value of public investment in early education.

Instead, there were a number of agendas, the St. Paul Democrat told us.

He found that, with varied groups working on such efforts, “often they’re parallel, often they overlap, sometimes they may conflict.”

That makes it hard for legislators, who might agree in general on the matter, Pinto told us, to “cut through the clutter” and figure out “where do we go, where do we focus our efforts, what do we do?”

In an effort that uses what he describes as a lawmaker’s leverage to “convene,” Pinto helped bring them together via a quarterly Prenatal-to-Three Policy Forum series that began last summer. The next such session will be Jan. 6 at the University of St. Thomas.