Rural Minnesota early ed specialists say flexible funding is important
February 6, 2017 by Blandin Foundation
Last month, hundreds of children and youth champions gathered to discuss policy decisions that would impact our state’s littlest learners to career-bound youth.
In an editorial over the weekend, Star Tribune staff echoed the sentiment of many at the gathering with their headline, “Use Minnesota’s full toolbox to expand early education.”
Why is it important to rural communities that the state continue funding the full toolbox?
Tammy Filppi, Initiative Foundation’s Early Childhood Specialist, says, “It’s very important that we continue with mixed delivery systems….Some communities in our region have great options for families…In other places we’re very limited and the [public] school may be the best option.”
Sonja Merrild, Blandin Foundation’s director of grants, expanded on the rural perspective saying that the childcare shortage in rural Minnesota is central to looking at the issue of early childhood education. She said, “In Itasca County alone, we are 500 slots short.” She went on to say flexible funding streams are necessary to adapt to local needs.
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