FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE, January 8, 2007
ST. PAUL – State Representative David Bly (DFL-Northfield) today introduced an early childhood education bill seen by many as the best hope to close the achievement gap among at-risk students in Minnesota. Bly's bill was included in the House Democrats top seven bills for this session, giving it a very good chance of passage.
"Of all the investments we make in education, the ones targeting early learners pay off the most down the road," Bly said. "Funding for early childhood education remains below the levels of 2003. My bill targets the most vulnerable young learners and invests in programs like Head Start and community-based school readiness programs that are proven to help prepare kids for their first years of school."
Specifically, Bly's bill restores Early Childhood & Family Education funding to the level before the cuts in 2003 (from $112 to $120 per child under age five in the district). The bill also increases School Readiness funding by $1 million and Head Start funding by $1 million per year. School Readiness programs are targeted at children ages 3 to 5 years, and are intended to enable children to better prepare themselves to enter school with the necessary skills, behavior, and family stability.