ST. PAUL, Minn. – Research show that up to 90 percent of brain development occurs before the age of five. In Minnesota, nearly half of children entering kindergarten are not fully prepared to succeed – this session Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids) has introduced a bill that will help address these challenges. The ‘4K for Kids’ bill proposes to offer pre-kindergarten programming free of charge for any 4-year-old in Minnesota, if their parents choose. Studies prove that high quality preschool programs benefit ALL children.
“Minnesota is already a leader in education and we’ve made huge strides in the past two years with our commitment to voluntary all-day kindergarten. The ‘4K for Kids’ bill builds on those successes to ensure all Minnesota school children are prepared for kindergarten,” said Sen. Hoffman. “Our youngest Minnesotans deserve the best. This program will help close the achievement gap by lining up with school benchmarks and creating a continuum to ensure more students have a successful educational career.”
With passage, the legislation would go into effect in the fall of 2016, and all children who have turned four by Sept. 1 of 2016 can attend the program. For more information on the 4K for Kids legislation click here.
Hoffman’s legislation was one of six bills introduced at a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday. The other bills were:
• Flood Relief Bill. This bill appropriates $6.85 million to secure disaster relief funding for dozens of hard-hit counties across the state. It also calls for an additional $3 million to receive matching funds for local roads and more than $2.4 million for erosion, sediment, and water quality control.
• WorkMN. This higher education tuition relief bill proposes to offer two years of free tuition to Minnesota high school graduates at any Minnesota community or technical college.
• Rural Health Professional Loan forgiveness Initiative. This bill would forgive about 60 percent of a health care professional’s college debt if they agree to serve up to four years in rural or other high need areas across the state.
• Child Protection Legislation: This legislation puts in place stronger protections for children facing possible maltreatment. The three components of this bill will give professionals in the process of determining the welfare of a child all the information they need to make the best decisions possible.
• PIPELINE Bill: The MN PIPELINE legislation connects students with companies and provides on-the-job training. Money for this program will allow businesses to train workers to fit industry needs through a new model where the costs are shared between the state, businesses and students.
You can contact Sen. Hoffman at Sen.John.Hoffman@senate.mn or by calling his office at (651) 296-4154.