SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Senate Majority Leader Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis) said the Senate passed an Early Childhood Education bill early Wednesday that invests $311 million over the next four years in scholarships for the state’s youngest learners to prepare them for success in school. It also prioritizes training and recruiting of early childhood educators.
Majority Leader Dziedzic said the bill, authored by Senator Mary Kunesh (DFL-New Brighton), makes investments that are critically important to the state’s economic future.
“Although the young Minnesotans that this bill helps may be small in stature, the impact of these investments in early childhood education will be large — not only for them and their families, but also for our state’s economic future,” said Majority Leader Dziedzic. “Investing in young children is one of the best investments we can make. By supporting early childhood education, our children are much more likely to be prepared for school, and much less likely to be held back. They are also less likely to need special education services, and they are more likely to complete high school, get a good job, and be much less likely to commit a crime. The savings to taxpayers and our society are immense.”
“We heard these past months how early childhood education programs provide the best approach to positive outcomes for healthy social, emotional, and academic success, and today we committed to that investment and took advantage of these crucial first years,” saidSenator Kunesh. “Across the state, early childhood program educators are already trained to nurture the social, developmental, and cognitive needs of children under five years old. This bill builds and supports their success and creates a pathway for more of our pre-K families and kindergartners to access valuable resources.”
The bill supports $311 million in early learning scholarships over the next four years for households with incomes less than 47 percent of the state median income. Beyond that, it funds Head Start and invests in training for early childhood educators and in kindergarten readiness assessments.