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Legislative News and Views - Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL)

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Early Education Policy Bill Passes off the House Floor

Thursday, April 4, 2024

SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed, HF 4176, the House Early Education Policy bill, with a 69-61 vote. The bill authored by Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega (DFL – Saint Paul) combines two existing programs for young learners: Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) and School Readiness Plus. 

"High-quality early childhood programs are essential for all our youngest learners in Minnesota," said Rep. Perez-Vega. "Research shows that preschool not only gets children excited about learning and prepares them for kindergarten, but also builds their self-esteem, confidence, and critical skills in literacy, math, communication, and creativity." 

Some of the key provisions of the bill include: 

The Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts will have their own separate lists for assigning spots in the program. 

The rules for who can get scholarships to attend early learning programs are modified to enhance equity. There will also be specific groups of children who will be given priority for these scholarships. 

Clarifies that kindergarten and pre-kindergarten are separate. 

The bill explains the requirements for special education services for young children (ECSE or Part C Services). 

Last year, House DFLers passed a Children and Families budget delivering over $2 billion over the next four years in transformational investments in affordable and accessible childcare and early learning, shelter and dignity to those experiencing homelessness or food insecurity, economic supports for families, and more. 

More information on the House Early Education Policy proposals, such as the efforts can be found via the bill’s research brief. Video of today’s floor debate can be found on the House Public Information YouTube channel