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District’s commitment to early childhood education promising

I want to congratulate the staff and administration of the Morris Area School District for recognizing and promoting the importance of early childhood education.

In the Sun Tribune article, “Kindergarten will start school two days late next fall,” it mentioned how the early childhood staff has been working hard to improve collaboration between their services and the K-3 staff. The whole goal, Elementary School Principal Ken Gagner says, is to make sure all children are ready to have a successful first year in school.

It does more than that. Investing in early childhood education helps ensure the children in your district are prepared to learn, and reduces the need for expensive remedial education, disruptive disciplines and special education programs.

Nearly 50 percent of children in Minnesota begin kindergarten not fully prepared with the skills necessary to succeed in school. This daunting gap in school preparedness costs the state approximately $860 million each year in unnecessary expenditures (special education, police, courts, prisons, health care, social services, income supports, etc.).

In short, there is no better return on investment in our state than early learning. When Minnesota’s kids have the best possible start, we’re all better off.

Kudos on your district’s commitment to early learning!

Nancy Straw

President, West Central Initiative