Governor Dayton today reaffirmed his commitment to making quality early childhood education a priority for his administration, appointing 22 Minnesotans to the Early Learning Council and announcing that Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius, Commissioner of Health Ed Ehlinger and Commissioner of Human Services Lucinda Jesson will lead the Children's Cabinet.
The Early Learning Council will be chaired by Barb Yates and will be responsible for advising the Governor, the Children's Cabinet, and the legislature on how to increase access to high quality state and federal early childhood care and education programs for all Minnesota learners -- including those who are part of underrepresented and special programs.
Governor Dayton established the council by Executive Order in March, with members being selected through the open appointments process. Today's appointees bring diversity to the Early Learning Council in terms of experience, geographic representation, race, gender and ethnicity. A list of appointees to the Early Learning Council is attached.
"Minnesota's future success depends upon building an education system that gives every child the chance to succeed. By starting early we can lay a strong foundation to ensure every learner has the tools to excel in the classroom, in our communities, and in life. I thank these distinguished Minnesotans for their dedication to our children and our state," Governor Dayton said.
Governor Dayton also reaffirmed his commitment to apply for federal Race to the Top -- Early Challenge funds as a way to support Minnesota's efforts to close achievement gaps. The federal grant would award up to $50 million to states that increase the number of low-income children enrolled in high quality early learning programs, which is a key part of preparing children for Kindergarten. Established in 2009, Minnesota has a Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) to ensure access to high-quality early learning and care programs. This program will contin