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Our Voice: Race to the Top: Congratulations to Minnesota!

December 16, 2011 - Open letter from McKnight president Kate Wolford celebrating Minnesota’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant to advance early education efforts.

The McKnight Foundation joins our entire community in congratulating Minnesota for winning Race to the Top funding, which will create programs to make our schools more effective and help our state’s youngest learners reach greater heights. (Below is a link to the official announcement of the good news.)

Many dedicated players contributed to this victory for Minnesota’s children and families — Governor Mark Dayton, Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, our colleagues at the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation, Ready4K, Resources for Child Caring, and everyone who contributed time and energy to the years of work behind Minnesota’s successful application. One key winning criteria of special note is Minnesota’s implementation of a statewide quality-rating system, Parent Aware, which was developed with longtime McKnight support through the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation.

Truly a model of pragmatism and effective collaboration, this special federal investment in Minnesota’s educational system is the culmination of a long history of work shared by Minnesotans of all political backgrounds and diverse approaches. I believe the award also represents our next leap forward, especially in how it will accelerate work within the Minneapolis Northside Achievement Zone and St. Paul’s Promise Neighborhood, efforts McKnight has been proud to help develop through financial support and convening.

We also applaud the initial focus on communities in White Earth and Itasca County.After years of committed grantmaking and partnerships for early child development throughout Minnesota, we at The McKnight Foundation are pleased and proud of this accomplishment — for what it says about our state’s potential for such fieldwide, public-private collaboration, and especially for what Race to the Top funding will mean to our next generation of young Minnesotans. What fantastic news to ring in a new year. Congratulations to all!

Minnesota Receives Race to the Top Grant
... State took a large step forward today to ensure all young children will have access to high quality early learning ... will receive $45 million to develop a better aligned system of accountable and effective early childhood education ...

Kate Wolford