Dario Anselmo Signs Letter Supporting Early Learning Scholarships

Dario Anselmo was one of 150 prominent Minnesotans encouraging Governor Tim Walz and Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan to prioritize state funding to provide Early Learning Scholarships to 35,000 low-income Minnesota children under age 5 who can’t access quality early learning programs.

The letter reads:

Dear Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan: Speaking as individual citizens rather than for our respective organizations, we are writing to urge you to put this at the top of the state government’s agenda:

Helping 35,000 low-income children under age five access quality early learning programs as soon as possible.

Tragically, Minnesota has some of the worst achievement gaps in the nation, gaps that open as early as age one. To close achievement gaps, we must close the early learning opportunity gaps at the root of the problem. If we don’t get on top of this festering problem soon, it won’t be long before Minnesota’s communities, economy, and children are harmed.

The research about how to close gaps is clear: 1) Start early in life before gaps grow too large; 2) Prioritize limited funding for vulnerable low-income children who are mostly likely to fall into gaps; 3) Insist on the use of the best practices needed to prepare children for school; and 4) Give families the flexibility to find programs that fit their schedule, culture, and location.

Early Learning Scholarships, as originally piloted, align with those research-based principles. We also would support any other approach that does so.

We’re not doing enough on this issue. At the rate of change reflected in the recently enacted state budget, it will be 2087 before those 35,000 children are helped. However, if we invested just 4% percent of the amount we currently invest in public K-12 education, we could give Scholarships to all of Minnesota’s 35,000 left-behind children.

It’s not often that a group like ours comes together to raise a collective voice. But this issue is of paramount importance to all Minnesotans, and we don’t have time to waste.

Thank you for your consideration, and for your service to our state. We look forward to doing whatever we can to support you on this issue.