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Over 57,400 Children Enrolled in All-Day Kindergarten Statewide

3/12/2015 10:14:43 AM

New data show all-day kindergarten enrollment is exceeding initial state projections

ST. PAUL, MN - In its first year of implementation, new data from the Minnesota Department of Education shows that 57,479 students are now benefitting from the state's all-day, every day kindergarten initiative. That number amounts to 99.6 percent of all kids enrolled in kindergarten throughout the state, and exceeds original state predictions by nearly 3,500 students. The data also shows that every public elementary school in the state - except one - are now offering free, all-day, every day kindergarten programs for their students.

"Before we made this important investment, just 54 percent of Minnesota children had access to all-day kindergarten," said Governor Mark Dayton, who led the charge for a major investment in all-day kindergarten in 2013. "Now, during its first year of implementation, 99.6 percent of kids are getting the great start they need in classrooms across our state. This is outstanding news for our kids, and for our state's future. I thank the teachers, administrators, school boards, parents, and legislators who made this achievement possible."

All-day, every day kindergarten is the result of a $134 million investment made by Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature in 2013. Districts were then given a year to prepare for the move from partial day to full-day programming. Many families were previously paying thousands of dollars to send their children to all-day kindergarten, sometimes as much as $2,500-$4,200. Now, because of the state's new investments, over 57,400 children across Minnesota are attending all-day kindergarten, free of charge.

"It is amazing to see how quickly schools scaled up their kindergarten programs to offer full day classes," Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said. "It truly goes to show how necessary and important this investment was for Minnesota families. These students now have more time to develop academically and socially, creating a strong foundation that will propel them forward for success in the future. Just as exciting, with every child gaining access to the same opportunity of a great first start, full day kindergarten will undoubtedly be a game changer for closing the achievement gaps in Minnesota."

Throughout Minnesota, 57,714 children are currently enrolled in a kindergarten program with 57,479 of those students being served at a full day, every day site. Parents can opt out of enrolling their child in a full-day program, which accounts for the remaining 238 students enrolled in partial day programs.

"Thanks to the leadership of Governor Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature, thousands of our youngest learners are now benefitting from all-day Kindergarten," said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. "High-impact investments like all-day kindergarten and early learning initiatives are helping close Minnesota's achievement gap, and creating brighter futures for all of our students."

This year, Governor Dayton is working to further his commitment to early learning by investing $347 million in statewide, all-day preschool for every four-year-old in Minnesota. This proposal, and other proposed investments in early learning proposed by Governor Dayton, would build on the success of all-day kindergarten and help ensure every child gets a great start, and has access to an excellent education.

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