Nearly all eligible students are enrolled in free all-day kindergarten in just its first year of implementation. According to the Minnesota Department of Education, 99.6% are enrolled in all-day kindergarten classes. That’s a big increase from just 54% of eligible students enrolled the year before, when families had to pay out of pocket for the all-day option.
This ginormous increase in enrollment is even bigger than experts predicted. It exceeds original state predictions by nearly 3,500 students.
Governor Mark Dayton and DFL lawmakers passed and signed the all-day kindergarten bill into law in 2013. Schools across Minnesota implemented the proposal this past fall.
The early success of this program is amazing. Studies repeatedly show that the earlier the investment in kids, the bigger the results. All-day kindergarten for every kid in Minnesota is a huge opportunity for every student to succeed, regardless of their background, and hopefully make a giant dent in our state’s disparities amongst students of color.
I wish I could give Gov. Dayton and DFL legislators a round of high fives for implementing this important initiative. Progress like all-day kindergarten is what we need to make Minnesota an even stronger place to learn and grow. And I think that’s worth celebrating.