Worlds apart, same message

Posted in Grants

Chances are, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wasn’t visualizing a rural county in northern Minnesota when he spoke last Wednesday to the Citizens Budget Commission of New York City.  He was just leveraging this 40,000-resident community’s research and experiences.

And Sue Hoeft and Jan Reindl from the Invest Early initiative in Itasca County, Minn., as they were testifying in front of the Minnesota Legislature at nearly the same time as Bernanke, probably had no idea that he was out on the East Coast saying something as outrageous as:

“The payoffs of early childhood programs can be especially high.  For instance, preschool programs for disadvantaged children have been shown to increase high school graduation rates.”

A meeting of the minds?  Community educators and economists?   It’s true!

In Minnesota, a budget conversation is taking shape around a strengthened, and more coordinated approach to early childhood.  According to Hoeft and Reindl in their testimony, “If our goal is to have all Minnesota children ready for kindergarten by 2020, we must pull together and maximize our resources.”

Invest Early folks were in St. Paul to support a proposed Office of Early Learning and shared how Invest Early investments have made rapid progress for children, families and communities through focus and coordination.  Now they’d like the whole state to experience these kinds of successes.  Might Chairman Bernanke be next to testify?