Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Smart Investments in Minnesota's Students

Monday I attended a conference held at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul focused around bringing Academia and research to the table with policy makers. For the factual data reported by the organization that sponsored this event, Growth and Justice, click here.

Additionally, scholars Dr. Arthor Rolnick, Dr. Arthur Reynolds, Dr. Henry M. Levin, Dr. Megan Beckett and Dr. Laura Perna offered brief description of their papers found here.

There were many Minnesota House and Senate members in attendance. Most notably, Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller, Senate Minority Leader David Senjem and House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher. The Education Commissioner Alice Seagren also gave parting comments at the end of the day.

Many media outlets were there, which you can surely search the web for different resources (like a blogs, for instance). An article by the Star Tribune's James Walsh can be found by clicking here. Twin Cities Public Television was on hand to tape the entire days festivities, which I will keep you posted on. I have been checking TPT's website, but have been unable to fine the video as of today.

Overall, my suspicions seem to be confirmed. Education is important. The current traditional model costs a lot of money. There may be better ways to do things. The problem is as much financial as is it political. We need to start investing in our children's future. Change isn't easy for anyone, but far too many students are dropping out of school, yet we still are investing massive amount of public dollars. While I am a big proponent of school choice, we need to tread carefully.

The nugget that I came away with is that as a state and nation, we need to start putting much more money into early childhood for all families. The rate of return on this investment has the potential to money later in life. The "birth to 5" initiative is one that I am fully on board with. Birth to age three seems to be the most pivotal years in a human being;s development, yet we don't invest anything when compared to what we spend on K-12 and Post Secondary Education.

Just a few thoughts... Read for yourself and hit me back for debate. If you have other good resources about educational programs that work, you can send me a comment below this posting.


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