Friday, April 29, 2011

Educating Minnesota's Youngsters

Minnesota is planning on spending about $15 billion over the next biennium on education, $7.8 billion/year. Of that total expenditure funding from the state for early childhood education is only about $30 Million. In order to be able to realize the

true returns for or money much more is going to be needed, about $1.5 Billion dedicated to an endowment, the money from which will go to fund scholarships for impoverished families for early childhood education. The whole formulas may need to be rewritten and policy should change.

Per Student Minnesota only spends about $271/student. The Rand Corporation shows that at least $2,000/child is needed to gain measurable, substantial results. All studies show that if the investment is used wisely then there can be great benefits and savings to the state. The High Scope program in Michigan has shown that the benefits to the community are vast and that there are great

potential savings to the state. Their studies show that each dollar spent on their program returns $7.16 in savings to the state. Over a 40 year study of some students from the same high risk neighborhoods and moving through the same schools, those who participated in the early childhood showed measurable and sometimes drastic improvements in major categories shown here.

Major policy changes are going to be needed in Minnesota to the early childhood education system if there are going to be any change in the achievement gap. This is a large ask when we as a state seem to be unwilling to pay the necessary taxes to support the programs we ask so much out of, when we give them so little to work with.

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