Voluntary all-day K is the right step forward for our children’s education

To the editor –
Many of you know I have dedicated much of my life to improving our schools and strengthening the learning opportunities available to all children. Now in the state Senate, I am proud to be part of legislation authorizing funds for voluntary all-day kindergarten.
Last week, the Finance–E-12 Division committee I serve on started a much-needed discussion about all-day K funding for all Minnesota children. Numerous studies show quantifiable education benefits of full day kindergarten: improved literacy, language development and math skills.
When we look at investment in all-day K, we see a significant financial return. Economists with the Federal Reserve of Minneapolis estimate seven to sixteen percent in annual monetary returns for every dollar invested in early education.
Some may argue that all-day K is government intrusion into family life. To that, I want to remind people that the legislation proposed is for voluntary all-day K. Parents and schools have a choice about which kind of program is best for their kids and their district.
More than half of Minnesota children already participate in all-day kindergarten. However, some of these are fee-based programs making full-day K an impossible option for some low-income families.
Lengthening the school day at an early age will improve Minnesota’s educational outcomes and help put our kids in the best position possible for future success.
John Hoffman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, Champlin, and Coon Rapids
Senator John Hoffman can be reached via email: sen.john.hoffman@senate.mn or phone: (651) 296-4154. You can also write him at the Capitol: G-24 Capitol, 75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. St Paul, MN 55155

Senator John Hoffman
John Hoffman represents District 36, which includes portions of Anoka and Hennepin County.

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