The mission of A Minnesota Without Poverty is to end poverty, and in the process to enlist the support of people of all political beliefs -especially our lawmakers - to better the lives of all Minnesotans. We believe investing in the futures of our most vulnerable and youngest children is a major step toward our goal. That’s why we have created a campaign we call THINK KIDS: THINK P.I.E. (Promote Investment Early) to build public and legislative support for increases in spending for high-quality care and education programs for our most vulnerable children ages 0 to 5.
Decades of research demonstrates the value of high-quality education for very young children. We know, for instance, that more than 80 percent of brain development occurs before a child turns 3 and 90 percent before age 5. Furthermore, we know that gaps in outcomes between different groups of children can be measured as early as age one. Despite these findings, 35,000 Minnesota children do not have access to high-quality, early-learning programs and therefore start kindergarten already academically behind their peers.
Therefore, we challenge the Legislature to:
We support full funding to provide early learning scholarships for 35,000 vulnerable children ages 0-5 and voluntary home visiting.
Though scholarships carry a price tag, they are an educational investment in successful futures for 35,000 Minnesota children currently lacking access. Economists have demonstrated that for every $1 invested in high-quality learning programs for low-income children, there is a return of as much as $16 in value.