TAKE ACTION: Minnesota Pushes Birth to 3 Years Education
“Great Start for ALL Minnesota Children Act” Part 2
By Linda Bell
What if I told you that government wishes to place your infants into public school or early head start at least by their first birthday or if not at birth? What if I told you that this idea that government knows better how to love and care for your child than you do has existed for quite a while? Those who believe that the state should raise your child are coming to do the unthinkable. Let’s hope level heads prevail!
BILLS and GRANTS are flooding every U.S. state house to establish a birth to 3 education and prenatal to 3 home visiting system. Be on the watch for those legislators who want to officially bring in 4 year old fully-funded or near fully-funded preschool which would complete the birth to workforce continuum. Recent invited testimony for the Minnesota House demonstrates the clear intent behind these bills. The intent and implementation of this Act will occur through the passage of state bills based on the acceptance of federal or state grants that both sides of the aisle must pass.
Remember Melissa Harris-Perry, the Tulane professor and host of the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC? In 2013 she stated, “We have never invested as much in public education as we should have because we’ve always had kind of a private notion of children: your kid is yours and totally your responsibility. We haven’t had a very collective notion of these are our children.”
“So part of it is we have to break through our kind of private idea that kids belong to their parents or kids belong to their families, and recognize that kids belong to whole communities.”
“Once it’s everybody’s responsibility and not just the household’s, then we start making better investments,” Harris-Perry added.
If you’ve been following, Part 1 detailed Home Visits statewide for Minnesota mothers prenatally to the child’s 3rd birthday and their expansive funding for those who are, or have, “high risk, high need, mental illness” as well as new categories, “first-time mothers, those with young families.” We are watching 2 replica bills in the House and now in the Senate regarding the “Great Start for ALL Minnesota Children Act.”
Well, you don’t really mean it! Funding to put infants in school? What’s in Article 3 of the “Great Start for ALL Minnesota Children?”
Section 1: The Great Start Fund
The Great Start Fund would be established in the state treasury and will provide by law, as well as include funds “donated, allotted, transferred, or otherwise provided.”
This shows the intent that state funding for Birth to 3 education is meant to be long-term and continuous.
Birth to 3 Appropriations
The Great State Fund. Monies appropriated from the fund to the commissioner of education for early learning scholarships to the commissioner of education to all eligible applicants. Also, utilize other funds available for the basic sliding fee child care assistance program. Additionally, the commissioner of health is to “ensure program availability to all eligible applicants” and utilizing other funds available “from state and federal sources.”
Subdivision 3. Birth to 3. Eligibility.
- “The eligibility requirement for funds appropriated under Subd. 2 are as follows:
- Parents or guardians have income equal to or less than 400% of the federal poverty level income in the current calendar year.
- A child is from birth to 3 on September 1 of the current school year.”
Please note! “BIRTH TO 3…” Birth to 3. I literally have to pinch myself as I write. What kind of government wants babies enrolled in school?
Second, check the 2019 Federal Poverty Level (below) for recipients of the Birth to 3 funding. Basically, if you have a family of 4 and make a little more than $100,000.00 at 400% of federal poverty level, you can receive funding. Involvement is increased to the near-upper middle class. “Based on Pew Research Center data for the 2017 fiscal year within the Center’s parameters, an income range of $41,000 and $132,000 is considered to be middle class.” https://www.thestreet.com/personal-finance/what-is-middle-class-14833259
Generally, the remainder of Article 3 is not amended, other than older funding regarding Early Learning Scholarships for pre-kindergarten and school readiness plus and now combined to “not more than 7,160 participants for a fiscal year.”
So what’s the intent behind these bills?
You’ll need to read Pt 3 which I should have out later this afternoon.
These grant approvals and bills are moving very fast in both Senate and House! IMMEDIATE: Call education committee chairs today!
“I do not want further incremental or expansive funding for 4-year Preschool, Home Visiting OR Birth to 3 Education through bill passage or acceptance of federal grants, writing new state grants. I am asking you to, “HIT PAUSE” before the you or the legislature goes any further in funding mandates that the public is not interested in.”
Sen. Carla Nelson, Senate Ed Policy & Finance 651-296-4848
Rep. Dave Pinto, House Early Education 651-296-4199
Rep. Cheryl Youakim, House Education 651-296-9889
Rep. Jim Davnie, House Education Finance 651-296-0173
We have some work to do here!! Our legislators appear to sincerely believe in this utopia of their own making, not their constituents! What effect will these bills have on children, parents and families, and thus, society? Let’s make our voices known while we still have time.
Read Part 3 to hear testimony voices that show clear intent for these ideas.