URGENT: Minnesota’s youngest kids must be our #1 priority

Nearly 50 percent of Minnesota’s children begin kindergarten not fully prepared to succeed in school.

This daunting gap in school readiness costs the state approximately $860 million each year in unnecessary expenditures (special education, police, courts, prisons, health care, social services, income supports, etc.).

  • Every year approximately 15,400 low-income children enter kindergarten unprepared, costing Minnesota $56,000 over each child’s lifetime. The state loses approximately $860 million for every year this trend continues. (Wilder Research)

Quality early learning: There is no better return on investment.

An investment in quality care and pre-K education has the highest possible return on investment for our state.

    • Well-focused investments in early childhood development yield high public returns, as much as $16 for every $1 spent. (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)
    • Up to 90% of brain development happens before age 5, making the early years the most important time to invest in quality education.

An additional $150 million annual investment would ensure all 3- and 4-year-olds and their younger siblings living at or below 185% of the poverty level could access quality programs to prepare them for school (an additional 20,000 children).

    • Currently early childhood accounts for 2.3% of Minnesota’s annual general fund budget. An annual additional investment of $150 million would increase the percentage to just 2.75% of the annual general fund budget.

Preparing Minnesota’s workforce begins before kindergarten starts.

  • By 2018, 70% of all living-wage jobs in Minnesota will require some post-secondary education. Yet one-quarter of our future workforce will fail to graduate high school.
  • Children who are school ready by age 5 are more likely to be successful in the workplace, a key to economic growth

Minnesota has one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation.

The achievement gap begins at an early age – well before kindergarten.

  • Local and national research shows that kids starting behind face significant hurdles in academic achievement and often never catch up.
  • Kids who start school behind are much more likely to require special education, less likely to be reading by third grade, more likely to be behind in eighth grade, and less likely to graduate from high school.
    • Enrollment in high-quality early care and education settings is proven to substantially increase a child’s readiness for school.

Getting children ready is the first step toward improving K-12 education.

    • When kids enter school unprepared, their personal achievement, as well as the achievement of all of their classmates, is impacted.
    • Ensuring all kids are prepared to learn helps the entire K-12 education system by reducing the need for expensive remedial education, disruptive discipline and special education programs.

When Minnesota’s kids have the best possible start, we’re all better off.

Making it possible for Minnesota kids to have access to quality early care and education helps:

  • All of Minnesota’s kids and families: reducing the burden on taxpayers by ensuring classrooms are filled with kids prepared to learn.
  • Our K-12 education system: reducing the need for expensive remedial education, disruptive discipline and special education programs. Getting children ready is the first step for improving K-12 education.
  • The future of Minnesota: when kids start school ready, they are more likely to fill high-demand jobs and contribute to Minnesota’s economic prosperity.

Hear from parents and get an inside look at the impact scholarships can make in a child and family’s life.