Letter: Supports early learning

To the editor:

I was interested to read the April 3 Viewpoint piece by Rep. Leon Lillie detailing his leadership in supporting statewide funding of all-day kindergarten.  

Even more important, though, is the need to invest in the early education of our young children before they enter kindergarten.

Today, nearly half of all five year olds in Minnesota arrive at kindergarten not prepared to learn. And research proves that when children are behind at age five they are less likely to ever catch up.

Right now, our legislators have the opportunity to close that gap by providing access to quality early learning programs for all children.

Access to quality early learning programs is proven to improve school readiness outcomes for all kids. And when kids enter school ready to succeed, they reap the benefits for the rest of their lives. And so does our state.

This is why MinneMinds, a statewide coalition of more than 60 education, philanthropic, nonprofit and business organizations, is advocating for an investment of $150 million per year to support a proven scholarship model. Contrasted against the annual cost of $860 million when kids aren’t prepared, this is the best possible investment our state can make to close the achievement gap.

Eileen McMahon

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