Minnesota’s Department of Education offers an Early Childhood Family Education program for all families that have children from birth to kindergarten. The program’s goal is to enhance families’ abilities to provide the best learning environment possible for their children. Minnesota also offers financial support and grants for Early Head Start and Head Start programs to increase enrollment. As a result, approximately 3,614 children under the age of three are enrolled in Early Head Start programs in the state, and 5,690 three-year olds and 7,973 four-year olds are enrolled in Head Start programs. The average annual cost of center-based infant care in the state is $13,876.
- What the governor is saying: In Gov. Mark Dayton’s State of the State address, he called for an expansion of preschool, stating, “Let us commit that by the year 2018, all three-and-four-year-olds in Minnesota will have access to quality, affordable early childhood education.” He also reiterated what Minnesota had accomplished the previous year in the early learning space, including increasing funding for early childhood education scholarships to $46 million and enacting state-funded, all-day kindergarten which begins in the fall.
- What’s happening in the legislature: A letter to the editor of the Post-Bulletin in Minnesota encourages support of a bill in the state legislature “that would allow all children access to education opportunities” by creating universal preschool in the state.
- Funding increases and additional support: The Minnesota House added $75 million in education funding to their FY 2014-2015 budget. This has added about $8.8 million for early learning scholarships and a $8.9 million for a per-pupil allowance increase for early childhood family education.