ACTION ALERT: Universal pre-k proposals impact on our families

ACTION ALERT: Universal pre-k proposals impact on our families

Posted on March 26, 2015 by Michelle Kraus

We wanted to let you know about a major proposal at the State Capitol that, if passed, could dramatically impact Ladybug and the parents and children we serve.

WHAT IS BEING PROPOSED?

The Governor and a group of legislative leaders are proposing to create a universal pre-school program in which school-based pre-school services would be available for free to all Minnesota 4-year olds. The proposals effectively mandate that only school-based programs would be eligible to serve families who wanted free preschool for their 4-year olds. Even high quality programs like ours would be ineligible to provide free service to 4-year olds under this approach, even if that is what you and other parents prefer.

COULD SCHOOLS REDIRECT SCHOOL-EARMARKED FUNDING TO OUR PROGRAM?

No, not unless school districts surrendered the funding set aside for them by the State, which seems unlikely to happen. Therefore, in most school districts free universal pre-k for 4-year olds likely will be available only in school-based programs, but not in high quality for profit and non-profit preschool programs like ours.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF A SCHOOLS-ONLY MANDATE ON FAMILIES AND KIDS?

School-based programs work for some families, but not all. For instance, mandated school-based program:

  • may not be located near a parent’s job, commuting route or home;
  • may not have hours that fit the parents work schedule;
  • may create the need for an additional daily drop-off and pick-up for some parents with younger children; and/or
  • may not offer a family’s preferred early education environment or teaching style.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF A SCHOOLS-ONLY MANDATE ON OUR PROGRAM?

The loss of 4-year olds from our program could have a major impact on our ability to meet our mission and especially to serve a socioeconomically diverse population.

WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?

If you want to be heard on this issue, consider contacting your local legislators to share your opinion. Tell legislators that you want a flexible early education system that trusts parents to choose from a full range of high quality choices, not a one-size-fits all schools-only approach.

This online tool will show you who your legislator is, and how to reach them.

http://www.gis.leg.mn/OpenLayers/districts/

We thought you should be aware of this important new development.

If you have questions, feel free to ask us.

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