Senators make it clear they are in favor of an ongoing commitment to early childhood education
One day after Governor Dayton announced he would be vetoing the legislature’s $400 million E-12 bill, seven DFL State Senators have made it clear they won’t be a road block to negotiations, saying they are in favor of the Governor’s desire to fund a sustained commitment to early childhood education that works for all schools and includes flexibility.
“I have sent my two oldest sons to preschool before, and I can tell you personally how effective this program is at preparing our children for kindergarten. Minnesota ranks close to the bottom for state-funded pre-k – we want to change that this year. I stand with Governor Dayton – all Minnesota 4-year-olds deserve the opportunity to be ready for kindergarten,” said Assistant Majority Leader Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Cottage Grove).
“Minnesota has a proud tradition of investing in our public schools for the betterment of all. We’ve seen our state become one of the best-educated states in the nation; this was no accident. I am supporting Governor Dayton’s call for a sustained commitment to early childhood education because this is the next step in moving our state forward,” said Senate E-12 committee member Sen. LeRoy Stumpf (DFL-Plummer).
“Research has proven time and again that early childhood education is incredibly successful at preparing our 4-year-olds for kindergarten, this in turn helps close the achievement gap. Making a strong commitment to early education takes courage in the face of opposition, but it’s the right thing to do in order to ensure all young Minnesotans are operating on an even playing field,” said Senate President Sen. Sandy Pappas (DFL-St. Paul).
“Research shows that 90 percent of brain development occurs before the age of 5. Why wouldn’t we want to support a program that will help take advantage of that development? I’ve been supportive of more funding for early childhood education since the beginning of session when I authored the bill in the Senate. I stand with the Governor in his support for a flexible early education plan gives schools the resources to do what’s best for their communities,” said Senate E-12 Committee member Sen. John Hoffman (DFL- Champlin).
“The evidence is overwhelming – early childhood education works to prepare youngsters for kindergarten and helps close achievement gaps. I am fully supportive of the Governor’s decision to stand strong on more funding for early childhood education. To remain truly committed to Minnesota’s youngest learners, this is the way forward,” said Senate E-12 conference committee member Sen. Alice Johnson (DFL-Spring Lake Park).
“What the Governor is asking for makes sense for all Minnesotans. Early childhood education is a proven and effective way prepare our youngest learners for their academic careers. This isn’t a one-size-fits all approach, we are simply advocating for giving schools more resources to provide the best quality education possible to their communities. This commitment paired with 2 percent and 2 percent on the per pupil funding formula just makes sense for Minnesota schools,” said Senate E-12 conference committee member Sen. Kevin Dahle (DFL-Northfield).
“I support Governor Dayton in seeking additional funds for students. I am also committed to further increasing the per pupil formula to at least 2 and 2, this is what school districts are asking for, and it’s important to remember who we working for – Minnesota families and schools. However, it’s imperative that an agreement be reached as soon as possible so as not to jeopardize the existing $400 million in funds and policy reforms in our bill,” said Senate E-12 Budget Chair Sen. Chuck Wiger (DFL-Maplewood).
These senators are joined by many other members of the Senate DFL caucus in their support of the Governor’s commitment to early childhood education. These senators are also in full support of an increase in the per pupil funding formula to 2 percent and 2 percent for FY16-17.