Minnesotans came out to the "Pep Rally for Minnesota's Future."
This weekend, Governor Dayton joined House Speaker Paul Thissen, House Majority Leader Erin Murphy and education advocates to rally for Minnesota’s future. The cafeteria at St. Paul Central High Schools was filled with Minnesotans who came out to show their support for investing in education at all levels.
Jason Bolt, a father of five daughters, spoke about the importance of providing funding for All Day Kindergarten. His youngest daughter is currently in all-day Kindergarten, his oldest a freshman in college. He sees providing funding for all-day Kindergarten as a way to close the achievement gap, noting that he can see a night and day difference between his two youngest daughters who have benefited from all-day Kindergarten to his oldest daughters who only attended half-day Kindergarten.
“I believe that every single child in Minnesota deserves the right to go to Kindergarten all day to get that educational experience that they need.” Said Bolt, adding that middle class parents should not have to pay $3,500-$4,000 a year to have their kids go to school.
Jackson Fate, a freshman in college from Dodge Center also spoke to the crowd. He was horrified while applying to colleges last year because he knew that he could not afford it. Without higher education funding, kids like Jackson have a difficult time attending college, if at all. “I’m being selfish; don’t invest in the kids, invest in me. I’m right here. Look at me and invest in me and people like me.”
Governor Dayton proposes providing an addition $343 million in early childhood education through secondary as well as $240 million in higher education. The Governor shared his personal story from when he was a teacher. There were 32 kids in his 9th grade classroom, making it extremely difficult for him to give them the attention they deserve. He’s seen over-crowded classrooms all across Minnesota, with excellent teachers who are put in impossible situations because there are too many kids, underequipped classrooms and other things that have been ignored because of the lack of funding.
The Governor is urging legislators to support a broad commitment for increasing funding for education, all the way from early childhood and all-day Kindergarten through post-secondary because we know that’s the key to the future of our state. To do this, Governor Dayton asks the wealthiest 2% of Minnesotans to pay their fair share in income taxes, and use that money to invest in the future of Minnesota.
“This is what our kids deserve and to do anything less would be just shameful.”
For more information about Governor Dayton’s budget for education, visit http://mn.gov/governor/budget/middle-class/education/.