Today, Governor Mark Dayton reaffirmed his commitment to make quality early childhood education a priority by signing an executive order to reauthorize the state's Early Learning Council. The Governor's action highlights his vision that all Minnesota children enter school well-prepared to learn.
"Investing in quality early care and education is essential to building a better future for our children and our state," Governor Dayton said. "Quality early education prepares children to learn once they enter school, provides significant long-term cost savings to Minnesotans, and helps produce the excellent workforce that has been the hallmark of our state's economic success. It's a critical step in helping Minnesota win the future."
The federal Improving Head Start Act of 2007 called for the establishment of State Early Childhood Advisory Councils to improve the quality, availability, and coordination of programs and services for children ages birth to five. State councils are charged with developing recommendations for increasing access to high quality state and federal early childhood care and education programs for all children - including those who are part of underrepresented and special populations -- and conducting a periodic state needs assessment of the quality and availability of programs.
Under Governor Dayton's new executive order, the Council, established in 2008 by Governor's Executive Order 08-14, will be renamed the Early Learning Council and will have an expanded membership that will be named through the open appointments process. The primary goal of the Early Learning Council is to ensure that all children are school-ready by 2020. Council members will make recommendations to the Governor and Legislature, including a legislative proposal that will effectively create a high-quality early childhood system in Minnesota that will help improve educational outcomes for all children.
"There are few things that predict a child's future success like the quality of the education he or she receives in the early years," said Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius. "The Early Learning Council will give focus to the Governor's vision for our schools, and help ensure improved literacy, safety, and social development for all of Minnesota's youngest learners."