URGENT: Minnesota’s youngest kids must be our #1 priority
Nearly 50 percent of children in Minnesota begin kindergarten not fully prepared with the skills necessary to succeed in school.
This daunting gap in school preparedness costs the state approximately $860 million each year in unnecessary expenditures (special education, police, courts, prisons, health care, social services, income supports, etc.).
- Every year approximately 15,400 low-income children arrive at kindergarten not fully prepared to succeed, costing Minnesota $56,000 over the lifetime of each unprepared child and approximately $860 million for every year this trend continues. (Wilder Research)
Quality early learning: There is no better return on investment.
An investment in quality care and education for children before they reach Kindergarten has the highest possible return on investment for our state.
- Well-focused investments in early childhood development yield high public returns, as much as $16 to $1. (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)
- Up to 90% of brain development happens before age 5, making the early years the most important time to invest in quality education.
An additional $150 million annual investment would ensure all 3- and 4-year-olds and their younger siblings living at or below 185% of poverty (an additional 20,000 children) could access quality programs to prepare them for school.
- Currently early childhood accounts for 2.3% of Minnesota’s annual general fund budget. An annual additional investment of $150 million would increase the percentage to just 2.75% of the annual general fund budget.
Preparing Minnesota’s workforce begins before kindergarten starts.
- By 2018, 70% of all Minnesota living wage jobs will require some post-secondary education. Yet one quarter of our future workforce fails to graduate from high school.
- Children who are school ready by age 5 are more likely to grow up to be productive in the workplace, a key to economic growth.
Minnesota has one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation.
The achievement gap begins at an early age – long before kindergarten.
- Local and national research has proven that kids that start behind face significant hurdles to academic achievement and often never catch up.
- Kids who start school behind are much more likely to require special education, less likely to ready by third grade, more likely to be behind in eighth grade and less likely to graduate from high school.
- Attendance in high quality early care and education settings is proven to substantially increase the number of children who start school ready to succeed.
Getting children ready is the first step toward improving K-12 education.
- When kids enter school not prepared to learn it impacts not only their personal achievement but the learning experience of all children in their classroom.
- Ensuring all kids are prepared to learn helps the entire K-12 education system, reducing the need for expensive remedial education, disruptive discipline and special education programs.
When Minnesota’s kids have the best possible start, we’re all better off.
Making it possible for Minnesota kids to have access to quality early care and education helps:
- All of Minnesota’s kids and families: reducing the burden on taxpayers by ensuring classrooms are filled with kids prepared to learn.
- Our K-12 education system: reducing the need for expensive remedial education, disruptive discipline and special education programs. Getting children ready is the first step for improving K-12 education.
- The future of Minnesota: when kids start school ready, they are more likely to fill high-demand jobs and contribute to Minnesota’s economic prosperity.
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