Senators introduce bipartisan bill to expand targeted early learning scholarships for low income students

A bipartisan group of Senators announced the introduction of Senate File 1306, a bill to expand targeted early learning scholarships for low income families and students. The legislation takes steps to ensure every child receives the best start to life through investing in a high-quality early childhood development system that empowers the parent and focuses on the child. The scholarships aim to prepare students for kindergarten and provide early learning opportunities to students who would not otherwise be able to attend pre-school.

Senator Carla Nelson (R-Rochester) introduced the legislation with the support of bipartisan co-authors representing Greater Minnesota, the Twin Cities, and suburban communities. These co-authors include: Senator Melisa Franzen (D-Edina), Senator Justin Eichorn (R-Grand Rapids), Senator Patricia Torres Ray (D-Minneapolis), and Senator Paul Anderson (R-Plymouth).

Early learning scholarships have broad, statewide support and have already provided more than 29,500 children with access to quality early childhood development opportunities. However, with thousands of children three to five-years-old still unable to access high-quality early child development programs, advocates are continuing to push for significant new investments in high-quality early childhood development programs that prepare children for Kindergarten.

“This legislation continues Minnesota’s commitment to eliminating opportunity gaps and ensuring our state’s highest-need students are prepared for success in school and life,” said Senator Nelson, Chairwoman of the Senate E-12 Education Committee. “By investing in increased access to targeted early learning scholarships, we ensure our youngest learners have the opportunity to grow and thrive in the future. I appreciate the bipartisan support for these important investments in our children.”

“Early learning scholarships have made a tremendous difference for me and my family. Because I have a scholarship, my child can attend Joyce Preschool, a four-star Parent Aware rated program where I work and support my family,” said Maria de la Luz Cruz Mendez, a parent and Child Care Professional from South Minneapolis.”

“As a legislator and as a mother of young children, I know that a strong education system means a lifetime of success for our children, a capable workforce, an innovative economy, and healthier and safer communities,” said Senator Franzen. “This is why I’m proud to co-author Senate File 1306 to expand access to early learning scholarships. I will continue to support all efforts to help our youngest learners get the best start possible.”

“All families should have access to high-quality early learning programs. I’m grateful that my family received a scholarship. Because of this scholarship, I know my son Colin is ready for kindergarten and I know that he will continue to thrive in school and beyond,” concluded Alison Petri, a parent from Plymouth.