The new year provides an opportunity to accelerate progress in early education. Minnesota has high aspirations. The World's Best Work Force statute states that by 2020 all children will be ready for school.
Although Gov. Mark Dayton has championed early education with the new voluntary pre-K program for 4-year-olds and other investments, Minnesota remains far short of the 2020 goal and continues to lag other states in access to high quality programs.
As a land-grant institution, the University of Minnesota has a substantial role in improving early childhood education. Given the relatively low standing of Minnesota, the university can be a more effective contributor. To address key challenges, the Human Capital Research Collaborative at the university conducts research on the effectiveness of education programs. We see three major ways the university can help improve access and quality for young learners.