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DHS says all-day Kindergarten has reduced pre-school options for parents

I was on the Department of Human Services (DHS) website today looking for some information about refugees in Minnesota. We had hoped to release our paper on the impact of the refugee program on the state budget at the end of the year but hit a data wall. Neither the feds nor the state keeps good data. And much of the data that is available is massaged to hide the costs, the facts.

So we are building a model to give you a good estimate of the cost impact of this federal program on the state budget. (Spoiler alert: the feds are not spending much at all, leaving it to state taxpayers to pick up the tab. We just do not know how much but will soon.)

I bumped into the DHS 2017 Legislative agenda (note that all the agencies have their own agenda that they lobby hard for at the Legislature) and took a peak. By the way, the people who lobby for these agenda do not just “go away” when there is a new governor. Elected officials are just “temporary help” while staff and “experts” carry out the real work of state government.

But I digress.

Listed was the following: “Early childhood facilities help prepare children for school issue.”  DHS essentially admits that all-day Kindergarten has reduced options for parents with pre-school age kids. the logic displayed here is fascinating.

Here is the post:

Early childhood facilities help prepare children for school Issue:

  • Quality facilities for preschool and early childhood education help prepare children to start school ready to learn.
  • Demand is rising as more families with low incomes seek early childhood programs through the Minnesota Early Learning Scholarships Program and child care subsidies tied to high quality programs through Parent Aware.
  • All-day kindergarten has displaced many existing early childhood facilties, further increasing the demand for space for early childhood programs. Proposal:
  • The governor’s capital budget recommends funding in FY 2017 for statewide grants to help local entities renovate or construct new early learning facilities. This includes $15 million in for public entities.
  • The grant program requires a competitive request for proposals process.
  • Families across Minnesota will have better access to early childhood programs in safe, high quality facilities. Children will achieve better outcomes in early learning facilities so they are prepared for kindergarten.
  • Bond funding will be available to facilities owned by the state or political subdivisions, such as school districts or cities.
  • Improving facilities will create jobs, and the improvements will help meet the growing demand for high quality early learning facilities.

 

So the state reduced pre-K options by adding all-day Kindergarten, so of course the state has to step in, build “facilities” with borrowed money and raise the kids starting at age 4. Then the kids can go to work to pay off all that debt we racked up to house them while we were busy doing something more important.

It is the “Kibbutz” approach to raising a family.

This is all about the DFL plan for the state to offer pre-K to ALL four-year olds in Minnesota. All of them, not just the kids who need a helping hand.

Leaving aside whether this is good for young children, imagine what that would do to all the high quality pre-K options offered by child care providers at churches, in-home day care and Montessori-type schools.

But after all, it’s for the children.

 

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