Strengthening early education means doing what works for all children. This is the vision of the Minnesota Early Learning Council and is directly supported in the World’s Best Work Force statute. The unifying goal is that all children will be ready for school at kindergarten entry.
The best available evidence indicates that only half of all Minnesota children entering kindergarten are fully ready in literacy, math, and socio-emotional skills. Since the vast majority of young learners are from middle-income families, large increases are needed across the income spectrum to meet the universal readiness goal in any realistic time frame. Only a universal system of access can accomplish this. The targeted approaches advocated by Close Gaps by Five, Think Small, and others address only part of the need.
Increasing readiness for all is an accelerating national trend. In a recent national and bipartisan poll of voters, only 18 percent said they have high-quality and affordable programs in their local community, and 85 percent favored increased public support to middle- and low-income families to address these problems. Since nearly four in five 4-year-olds are in some form of out-of-home education and care, the situation is most pressing. All children, regardless of income and ZIP code, deserve access to early education that is highly effective and affordable.