TO THE EDITOR:
Many of you know I have dedicated much of my life to improving our schools and strengthening the learning opportunities available to all children. Now in the state Senate, I am proud to be part of legislation authorizing funds for voluntary all-day kindergarten.
Recently, the Finance E-12 Division committee I serve on started a much-needed discussion about all-day K funding for all Minnesota children. Numerous studies show quantifiable education benefits of full-day kindergarten: improved literacy, language development and math skills.
When we look at investment in all-day K, we see a significant financial return. Economists with the Federal Reserve of Minneapolis estimate 7 to 16 percent in annual monetary returns for every dollar invested in early education.
Some may argue that all-day K is government intrusion into family life. To that, I want to remind people that the legislation proposed is for voluntary all-day K. Parents and schools have a choice about which kind of program is best for their kids and their district.
More than half of Minnesota children already participate in all-day kindergarten. However, some of these are fee-based programs making full-day K an impossible option for some low-income families.
Lengthening the school day at an early age will improve Minnesota’s educational outcomes and help put our kids in the best position possible for future success.
(Editor’s Note: Hoffman is state senator for District 36, which includes Champlin, Brooklyn Park north of 85th Avenue and part of Coon Rapids.)