Letter: Dayton education plan worth support

Published 5:41 pm Saturday, May 23, 2015

State Representative Peter Fischer, in a recent constituent email, states that he is going to stand with Governor Dayton and insist on boosting state education funding to $550 million, to pay for improvements in early childhood education. I urge the citizens of Austin, — now — to write, email, or call their (and other) representatives to support Rep. Fischer’s and Dayton’s position.

Study after study shows that money spent on early childhood, not just targeted to ‘those who need it,’ but for all, raises the performance level of students and pays benefits down the road in better outcomes, for students, and for society. This is money wisely invested.

As one who has taught in metro and outstate public schools, the difference in funding and financial support between both is eye-opening. Gaps between facilities and spending options between outstate schools, such as Austin (and Lyle, Adams/Southland, Blooming Prairie, etc….. ) and the metro/suburban schools (have you visited the shiny, modern mega-buildings of Eden Prairie or Lakeville North high schools lately?) are stark and obviously unfair. This gap will not be covered or evened in this session, but just an increase in early childhood spending can give our student population a needed boost. Support it.

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Dayton’s original all-day universal pre-K price of $700 million didn’t gain enough traction in the Legislature, but his stance, along with that of Rep. Fischer, for a universal half day Pre-K program is well worth the vocal support of the Austin community. Please act in your own best interest now and support the Dayton Pre-K funding proposal with your voice, phone call, or email.

 John Schmidt 

Teacher, Lyle High School.