Coalition Calls on Lawmakers to Spend on Early Childhood Education

By KBJR News 1

December 5, 2012 Updated Dec 6, 2012 at 10:40 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com)-- Despite budget projections being in the deficit column in Minnesota, one group is calling on lawmakers to spend more on education.

"Our children call it preschool, not daycare that offends them."

The Endion Square Children's Center believes in balance in planning for kindergarten.

"This helps prepare them for all that, both socially and academically."

Preschool teacher Tammi Peterson stresses that preparation before entering the school system is essential for academic success.

"Kindergarten is no longer kindergarten, it's more like first grade, said Peterson. "There is so much that they learn and have to deal with at school."

This is why a group called MinneMinds is urging lawmakers to spend more in early education going forward.

"The push is that there is a disparity in the level of quality care setting that is available throughout the state," said Paula Reed with United Way Duluth.

MinneMinds goal is to phase in an increase in spending to access quality education programs for three to four year old children living at poverty levels.

The program would begin, in 2014 with allocations close to $78 Million dollars, eventually reaching $150 Million in 2017.

"After a couple weeks of our routine you can tell a difference in what they can accomplish themselves."

Teachers say the skills acquired before the age of five, will have a lifelong impact.

According to the MinneMinds timeline, their budget recommendations would provide close to 14,000 kids with scholarships in 2014.

Zach Vavricka

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