Early learning scholarships bring rural-urban flexibility, Oped - Mankato Free Press by Tim Penny and Duane Benson, March 16, 2018
Close Gaps by 5 statement on the Governor's budget proposal, March 16, 2018
Kindergarten-Readiness Transparency: Close Gaps by 5 letter to the Minnesota Department of Education urging them to release kindergarten-readiness data, which hasn’t been made available since 2013. Februrary, 2018
Universal Pre-K would make Minnesota's child-care shortage much worse, Community Voices - MInnPost February 15, 2018
Universal Preschool? First we need to target the neediest kids, StarTribune - Letter to the Editor by Ericca Maas, Close Gaps by 5 Executive Director, February 13, 2018
Greater Minnesota needs early learning scholarships, Bemidji Pioneer - Commentary by Barb Fabre, February 5, 2018
Economist says early childhood education spending has big payoff - audio of speech given by economist and Close Gaps by 5 board member Art Rolnick, MPR News, May 10, 2017
Seeking peace in Minnesota's war over early education, Star Tribune, April 30, 2017
Time to move ahead with need-based preschool plan, StarTribune, April 1, 2017
It's time to get serious about finishing the job on early education, PIoneer Press Opinion by Todd Otis and Duane Benson, March 30, 2017
End the hodgepodge approach to early education in Minnesota, Editoral Board StarTribune, March 9, 2017
What kind of early-education help do low-income parents want? MinnPost: Community Voices by Sondra Samuels and Close Gaps by 5 board member, Barb Fabre, January 30, 2017
Press Release: Close Gaps By 5 Analysis: 40,000 low-income MN kids can't access quality early ed programs, November 17, 2016
Art Rolnick: Universal pre-K is the wrong tool to narrow achievement gaps, Pioneer Press Opinion Column - August 28,2016
Letter from PASR Executive Director, Ericca Maas to state legislators urging support for Parent Aware and scholarships, May 13, 2016
May 4, 2016 - Almost 300 of Minnesota's best early educators added their names to this letter directed to Governor Mark Dayton and state legislators
What do preschool quality, public safety and national security have in common? StarTribune, April 20, 2016 - Commentary by Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom and retired U.S. Army brigadier general, Tim Kennedy urging the Minnesota legislature to fully fund Parent Aware
PASR Statement about House and Senate Early Education Proposals - April 13, 2016
Investing a relatively small amount in Parent Aware yields huge returns, MinnPost, April 12, 2016 - Former State Representative Todd Otis explains how Parent Aware is like a Swiss Army knife and why that benefits MInnesotans
Local View: Quality Child care is worthy focus during Week of Young Child Op Ed by Lynn Haglin, Duluth News Tribune, April 11. 2016 - Northland Foundation Vice President Lynn Haglin encourages a focus on quality child care during the Week of the Young Child
Modest Investment in Parent Aware Yields Big Benefits for Kids by Ericca Mass, PASR Executive Director - Think Small Blog, April 5, 2016
Legislators seek consensus on early-education scholarships: As Dayton scales back universal plan, others seek to expand scholarships StarTribune, March 16, 2016 - State Senator Melisa Franzen, "It's a more sensible and pragmatic approach to focus on scholarships vs. trying to eat the whole pie".
Child care providers seek Parent Aware ratings, ABC Newspapers, March 14, 2016 - Parent Aware rated providers in Anoka County discuss the benefits of being rated for the children that they care for and for their businesses
Duane Benson: Reform the $271M per year CCAP program to narrow Minnesota's worst in the nation achievement gap, Pioneer Press March 13, 2016
'Minnesota Model' for early learning is on the right track, StarTribune February 5, 2016 - Opinion a rticle written by PASR board member, Art Rolnick
Our View: Helping child care providers helps families, Post Bulletin, January 22, 2016 - The Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation is expanding its effort to increase the number of southern Minnesota child care providers rated through Parent Aware
Our Early Childhood Program Received Highest Rating, The Caledonia Argus, January 19, 2016 - The Caledonia Area Public Schools Preschool and early childhood program celebrates their 4-Star rating
Fraser School gets four stars Sun Current, January 13, 2016 - Sun Current article highlights the Fraser School's 4-Star Parent Aware Rating.
Public Opinion Survey Summary: Minnesotans Want Targeted, Flexible Early Education. Click here to review a summary of a September 2015 Morris Leatherman random sample survey focused on Minnesotans’ opinions on the most pressing early education issues facing the Minnesota Legislature in 2016.
Loon honored by Parent Aware Eden Prairie News, December 15, 2015 - An in-district article announcing the Early Education Champion of the Year award Representative Loon received from PASR
States Still Racing to the Top But What's Next? New America Ed Central, November 9, 2015 - Highlights Minnesota's "impressive increase in the number of high needs students served in highly-rated QRIS pre-K programs".
Community Vocies: Minnesotans overwhelmingly support a targeted, flexible and accountable pre-K system MinnPost, October 15, 2015 - PASR board member Fred Senn highlights the results of the PASR sponsored early education survey
Somali child-care providers get help to boost learning StarTribune, October 12, 2015 - Somali child-care providers embrace quality improvements to close the achievement gap; more than half of licensed child care providers who reported speaking Somali have voluteered to be Parent Aware rated
Economist says early-learning scholarships are better option than universal pre-K StarTribune, October 11, 2015 - PASR board member, Art Rolnick is interviewed about the benefit of early learning scholarships for closing the achievement gap
Sen. Nelson receives early education award, Post Bulletin, October 1, 2015 - An in-district article announcing the 4-Star Legislator award Senator Nelson received from PASR
Minnesota Early Education Leadership Award Recipients: PASR honors local leaders, legislators and champions of Early Education in Minnesota, September 30, 2015
Early Education: The earlier the better, Star Tribune, September 21, 2015 - Commentary by Art Rolnick, Kate Mortenson and Barb Fabre - Start earlier than age 4 for the 20,000 Minnesota children born into poverty.
Parent Aware rates early childhood programs, Crow River Media, August 16, 2015 - More good news as new pre-k programs are getting Parent Aware rated and adopting kindergarten readiness best practices.
Our Opinion: Dayton wrong on early-childhood education, Grand Forks Herald, May 24, 2015
Minnesota lawmakers hit deadline with too much undone, StarTribune Editorial, May 19, 2015 - The StarTribune editoral board calls for "major move to provide low-income children with more early-learning opportunities"
Minnesota: The case for universal Pre-K remains thin, Pioneer Press Editoral, May 19, 2015 - The Pioneer Press editoral board writes that scholarships "make the most sense for MInnesota"
Minnesota Legislature, 2015: Advice for a fair finish, StarTribune Editoral, May 8, 2015 - The StarTribune editorial board endorses a compromise with targeted scholarships and targeted School Readiness
Dayton's Early Learning Council expresses reservations about his pre-k plan, MinnPost, May 5, 2015
Tim Penny: Early learning scholarships are part of a larger solution, Rochester Post Bulletin, May 4, 2015
Here's a budget plan for education to help all Minnesota students: Legislature should focus on strategic spending choices, smart reforms, Editoral Board StarTribune, April 24, 2015
PASR statement: Minnesota Senate budget would eliminate Parent Aware early education program, April 20, 2015
Commentary: A pre-k system needs both schools and childcare in the mix, The Bemidji Pioneer, April 18, 2015
PASR board member Rob Johnson commentary: Why abandon Minnesota's proven early education model?, StarTribune April 19, 2015
Chad Dunkley: Look more closely, and critically, and Minnesota's pre-k assertions, Pioneer Press, April 16, 2015
Dayton's universal preschool proposal left out of House, Senate education bills, StarTribune, April 16, 2015
Republicans want preschool scholarships, not universal pre-k Minnesota Public Radio, April 14, 2015
Sara Koch: Let's consider compromise to support early education Rochester Post Bulletin, April 14, 2015
MDE proposal: Scholarships get $0 in new money, while UPK costs $1.25 billion over four years. What do experts say?
Guest post: Clearing the air in the early education debate MinnCAN.org, March 26, 2015 posted by Ericca Maas, Executive Director of Parent Aware for School Readiness
Karen Cadigan: Minnesota's Pre-K: the costs of schools-only approach Pioneer Press, March 21. 2015 - PASR board member and public school official writes about her opposition to schools only universal pre-k
More than Daycare: Research Shapes New Focus on Early Learning WDIO Eyewitness News, February 23, 2015 - News report from Northeastern Minnesota highlights the process and benefits for provders who have volunteered to participate in Parent Aware
Lucinda Jesson: Quality child care is a needed Valentine for Minnesota families Post Bulletin, February 17, 2015 - Human Services Commissioner Jesson writes about her visit to a Parent Aware 4-star rated program and the importance of quality early education, especially for children who live in poverty
Our View: Beef up funds for early childhood scholarships Mankato Free Press, February 14, 2015 - The Mankato Free Press editorial board advocates for directing scholarship resources to those in the most need
Use early-ed dollars to help low-income students StarTribune, February 17, 2015 - The StarTribune editoral board argues that real impact on the achievement gap will only come from targeting funding to low-income students
Is Minnesota ready to go all in on early education? StarTribune, February 6, 2015 - NAZ President and CEO Sondra Samuels is featured in this article about the early education choices facing Minnesota lawmakers, "Does this state really want to raise the prospects of its most left-behind families? Or is it willing to let the problems of the poor fester in order to better serve the middle class?"
Early ed is hot at the Capitol, but with a rift: Focus on all kids or at-risk kids? MinnPost, February 5, 2015 - Background and explanation regarding the early ed discussion at the capital: universal or targeted pre-k funding?
Minnesota: Universal pre-k? Expensive and of dubious purpose PioneerPress-TwinCities.com, February 4, 2015 - A Pioneer Press editorial in supoport of early education policy that targets the most at-risk children
Expand choices in Dayton Pre-K plan Mankato Free Press, February 4, 2015 - Opinion article written by PASR board member, Tim Penny advocates for expanded options in the Governor's pre-k plan
Why Gov. Dayton should continue supporting early learning scholarships - An opinion article written by PASR board member, Art Rolnick for MinnPost, February 4, 2105
Governor’s budget and early education support statement of Ericca Maas, Executive Director Parent Aware for School Readiness (PASR) January 27, 2015.
Here's the middle ground on early education StarTribune, January 15, 2015 - In a commentary written for the StarTribune, Duane Benson advocates for CCAP reform requiring kindergarten readiness best practices
Dayton: Minnesota is doing better but more investment needed in education MinnPost, January 5, 2015 - In his inaugural address Governor Dayton emphasized his continued support for quality early education and preparing every Minnesota child for kindergarten
Parent Aware gives St. John's Steppingstones Preschool in Savage a four-star rating Savage Pacer, December 15, 2014 - The Savage Pacer highlights St. John's Preschool's 4 star Parent Aware Rating and explains what that means for children and families
New child care rating system has some Steele County providers skeptical, others on board Owatonna People's Press, November 29, 2014 - As the Parent Aware ratings expand state-wide this article profiles a 4-star rated provider in Owatonna and explains the importance of quality in early childhood education
Advocates want more state money to expand early education opportunities in Minnesota StarTribune, November 28, 2014 - The MinneMinds coalition will advocate for additional state funding to make early learning scholarships available to more of the eligible Minnesota families
Your Turn: State must do more to help pre-K learners St. Cloud Times, November 21, 2014 - PASR Executive Director, Ericca Maas writes about the progress Minnesota has made and the work that is left to do to ensure that all Minnesota kids are ready for kindergarten
Investing in early childhood and education Aitkin Independent Age, October 6, 2014 - After being awarded a 4-star Parent Aware rating, the McGregor early childhood program was eligible to apply for and receive two Pathway II Early Learning Scholarships from the state of Minnesota
ParentAware.org helps parents prepare children for kindergarten Lillie News, September 12, 2014 - PASR Executive Director Ericca Maas is quoted in this article highlighting the new ParentAware.org search tool
For Minnesota's littlest learners, a new push to close the achievement gap StarTribune, May 31, 2014 - Governor Mark Dayton and Minnesota's top educators support closing the achievement gap by making quality early childhood education affordable for all Minnesota kids by 2018
'Moving the needle': State education commissioner celebrates early-childhood programs in Winona Winona Daily News, February 27, 2014 - Education Commissioner, Brenda Cassellius visited an early childhood program in Winona, MN which was among the first in the state to implement the Early Learning Scholarship Program
Correcting Minnesota's $170 Million Per Year CCAP Mistake article by Arthur J. Rolnick a former economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, a senior fellow at the University of Minnesota, and a member of the Parent Aware For School Readiness (PASR) Board of Directors.
Earning Stars: Minnesota's Top Rated Child Care Providers Public News Service, January 27, 2014 - Human Services Commissioner, Lucinda Jesson comments on the importance of quality child care as the number of Parent Aware rated programs surpasses 1000
New Study: High-quality preschool for poor kids under 3 would eliminate achievment gap MinnPost, January 20, 2014 - A new study looking at the benefits of quality early education asserts that full-time, quality preschool for impoverished children under age 3, could eliminate the achievement gap
Early-ed advocates hope to expand scholarships, end per-child cap MinnPost, January 14, 2014 - Rep. Ryan Winkler has introduced legislation that would increase early ed scholarships, enabling more Minnesota families to access quality early education for their children
Parent Aware scholarships available for families to use for early learning programs Pine and Lakes- Echo Journal, January 8, 2014 - Eligible families in the Pequot Lakes area can apply for early learning scholarships to attend the Parent Aware 4-star rated Pequot Lakes School Readiness programs
Onamia ECFE receives 4 stars MilleLacs Messenger, December 21, 2013 -The Onamia early childhood center has received a 4-star Parent Aware Rating
State program empowers Central Minnesota parents to make child care choices St. Cloud Times, December 14, 2013 - Child care providers who have volunteered for the Parent Aware ratings are interviewed about the process and the benefits for children and parents
Study finds more Minnesota kids better prepared for kindergarten StarTribune, December 12, 2013 - A MN Dept of Education study found that efforts to improve early learning programs are benefiting kindergarteners in Minnesota
Osseo Area Schools' EC&FE Program Earns Top Ratings MapleGrovePatch, December 3, 2013 - Early childhood programs in the Osseo school district have received 4-Star Parent Aware ratings
Commissioner Jesson visits 'Panda Playhouse' daycare The Newsleaders, November 7, 2013 - A profile of 4-Star Rated provider, Amanda Rupar who was recently visited by MN Dept of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson
Minnesota's early learning efforts get national forum StarTribune, November 3, 2013 - Chuck Slocum writes about his recent attendance at a Washington DC early education conference.
Parent Aware Program Helps Invest in Early Childhood Education WJON.com, November 1, 2013 - MN Dept of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson visited a four star rated family child care center in Sartell.
Low-income families can apply for early learning scholarships starting Tuesday StarTribune, September 27, 2013 - Families can begin applying to receive scholarship assistance for early childhood programs that are participating in the Parent Aware quality rating program.
School Readiness: Breckenridge program earns highest rating The Daily News, September 19, 2013 - The Breckenridge School Readiness program earned a Parent Aware 4-star rating for their successful implementation of kindergarten readiness best practices
Program earns highest ranking Fairmont Sentinel, September 19, 2013 - Fairmont's early childhood education programs have earned a 4-star rating and along with it, scholarship funding that will help local families attend their program.
National NEA president praises Minnesota's early education efforts TwinCities.com, September 11, 2013 - NEA President Dennis Van Roekel visited a Bloomington, MN preschool and praised Minnesota's increased emphasis on early education.
Crookston Early Childhood Education has some exciting things to report for the near future Crookston Times, August 28, 2013 - The Crookston Early Childhood Education program received a 4-star Parent Aware Rating
Pine Island pre-kindergarten programs earn a four-star rating Pine Island Record, August 21, 2013 - The Panther Preschool programs at Pine Island Public Schools receive recognition and congratulations for their 4-Star Parent Aware rating.
Parent Aware for School Readiness gives Minnesota B+ for early-ed progress MinnPost, August 13, 2013 - PASR Executive Director Ericca Maas is quoted in this article about the recently released PASR 2013 Progress Report (the report is available for download on the left side of this page)
Grammy-winning band coming to local day care Mankato Free Press, August 11, 2013 - The Grammy Award winning children's band, the Okee Dokee Brothers traveled to Mankato to promote early childhood education and Parent Aware
Letter: High praise for Moorhead schools INFORUM, August 10, 2013 - A letter to the editor congratulates Moorhead public schools early childhood program for volunteering to receive a Parent Aware rating.
PASR PRESS RELEASE - July 31, 2013: Early Ed Reform Group Votes to Eliminate Itself in 2016
Congratulations to LP-A for Parent Aware star rating Detroit Lakes Online, August 7, 2013 - The Lake Park-Audubon school district is recognized for volunteering and receiving their Parent Aware Star Rating.
An education secretary's view of Minnesota StarTribune, July 20, 2013 - Opinion article written by Education Secretary Arne Duncan after his recent visit to Minnesota
Early Education: Money well-spent StarTribune Editorial Board July 17, 2013 - The StarTribune editorial board supports the praise Minnesota received from Education Secretary Arne Duncan for the state's investment in early childhood education
Minnesota's preschool funding praised by U.S. education chief Pioneer Press, Juy 16, 2013 - U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan was joined by PASR board member Art Rolnick and others for a discussion regarding early childhood education and preschool funding during the secretary's recent visit to Minnesota
Sauk Rapids-Rice, Sartell-St. Stephen's preschool programs rated 4-Stars St. Cloud Times, July 3, 2013 - Two programs in the St. Cloud area recently received 4-Star ratings.
Parent Aware Rating Program Expanding KAAL TV, June 26, 2013 - A profile of the Parent Aware Ratings program in southern Minnesota. includes the perspective of a child care provider who is in the process of receiving a Parent Aware Rating for her program.
State pumps money into early education to close achievement gap Minnesota Public Radio, June 25, 2013 - PASR board member, Art Rolnick and MinnCan Executive Director, Dan Sellers are quoted in this story about Minnesota's efforts to close the achievement gap by investing early education
Preschools, child care service to benefit from state program, The Princeton Union-Eagle , June 24, 2013 - This article highlights 4-star rated child care programs that will benefit from the new early learning scholarships
Eden Prairie's Early Childhood Program Gets Highest Rating, EdenPrairiePatch, June 14, 2013 - The Eden Prairie early childhood program received a Parent Aware 4-Star Rating
Be aware of Parent Aware Winona Daily News, June 1, 2013 - Community Columnist, Leslie Hittner advises families to "be aware" of how the Parent Aware program will benefit Winona County's youngest learners
Investing in Pre-Kindergarten Chisago County Press, May 30, 2013 - A "Community Education" report describes how early learning scholarships will benefit children in Chisago County
Minnesota Department of Education hindered scholarships StarTribune, May 28. 2013 - An opinion article written by Representatives Ryan Winkler and Pat Garafalo
WCI applauds Dayton and Legislature for investing in pre-K scholarships EchoPress, May 27, 2013 - The West Central Initiative supports Minnesota's investment in early learning scholarships
Minnesota Legislature made important early education progress StarTribune, Editorial Board May 26. 2013 - "Minnesota lawmakers rightly improved access to early education"
Pre-school scholarships headed to low income kids Minnesota Public Radio, May 23, 2013 - Frank Forsberg, chairman of the MinneMinds coalition discusses the early learning scholarship program signed into law this week
Legislature puts $485 million more in Minnesota public schools Grand Forks Herald, May 20 2013 - A recap of the Education bill passed by the MN House and Senate which includes pre-kindergarten scholarships
Public Schools Get Big Boost in Minn. Education Bill, KSTP.com, May 19, 2013 - Lawmakers passed an education bill that includes funding for early childhood education programs
Conference committee agrees to spend $485 million more for schools, early ed, Minnesota Public Radio, May 18, 2013 - The education conference committee finishes work on the education bill
Chuck Wiger and Kevin Dahle: Senate makes needed investments in K-12 Grand Forks Herald, May 12, 2013 - State Sentors Chuck Wiger and Kevin Dahle outline education investments passed in the Minnesota Senate, including early learning scholarships
Reader's view: State's best investment is in early learning Duluth News Tribune, May 12, 2013 - An experienced early childhood educator adds her voice in support of pre-kindergarten scholarship investment
Head Start Program given 4-star rating Echo Press, May 10, 2013 - The West Central Minnesota Communities Action's Head Start program received a 4-star Parent Aware Rating.
House OKs $158 education bill with free all-day kindergarten StarTribune, April 23, 2013 - The Minnnesota House passed a K-12 funding bill which includes scholarships for preschool
Minnesota lawmakers should stand firm on early education support StarTribune, April 20, 2013 - The editorial board supports the Governor's plan to invest in "Minnesota's littlest learners".
Keeping our promise to reform child-care subsidies MinnPost, April 19, 2013 - An opinion article written by Mike Ciresi, Chairman of the PASR Board of Directors
Funding pre-kindergarten scholarships is a necessary step Sun ThisWeek, April 19, 2013 - The newspaper editorial board endorses Governor Dayton's proposal to fund scholarships for Parent Aware rated pre-K programs.
Parent Aware helps parents find high quality care Echo Press, April 17, 2013 - This article from the Alexandria, Echo Press highlights the process and explains the benefits of becoming a Parent Aware rated child care program.
Proposed scholarship funding would get more kids in preschool Hutchinson Leader, April 5, 2013 - "Supporters of a bill that would fund preschool and child-care scholarships made their case on Thursday to members of the House Education Finance Committee."
Rochester's School Readiness Program gets four-star rating Post Bulletin, April 4, 2013 - The Rochester Public School's school readiness program received a Parent Aware 4-Star rating.
Early childhood education has substantial long-term benefits Duluth News Tribune, April 4, 2013 - An editoral by Thomas Renier, President of Duluth's Northland Foundation, emphasizes the importance of investment in early childhood education.
Early Childhood Program gets highest state rating The Forest Lake Times, April 3, 2013 - A Forest Lake Early Childhood programs celebrates a 4-Star Rating.
How useful are the Parent Aware Ratings? Minnesota Public Radio, April 1, 2013 - PASR Executive Director Ericca Maas was interviewed for this story which coincided with the release of new Parent Aware Ratings radio ads.
The big upside of the governor's pre-K scholarships MinnPost, March 18, 2013 - An opinion article written by Representative Ryan Winkler explains that investing in quality childcare programs will benefit millions of Minnesota children for years to come.
An inside view of a top-notch early childhood education program MinnPost, March 14, 2013 - MinnPost profiles a 4-Star Parent Aware rated preschool program that is making a difference for children.
All-day kindergarten versus pre-K is a false choice MinnPost, March 11, 2013 - A Community Voices opinion article written by Tim Penny, PASR board member and President of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.
Your Turn: Quality pre-K education key to success in school St. Cloud Times, March 9, 2013 - Written by Dan Sellers, Executive Director of MinnCan, a MInneMinds coalition member
As Dayton pushes for preschool, a success story in cultivating young minds Minnesota Public Radio, March 4, 2013 - This MPR story featured a St. Paul childcare program and a local family that benefitted from early learning scholarships and the Parent Aware Ratings.
OPINION: Poverty, quality and paying for early childhood education TC Daily Planet, March 1, 2013 - A childcare provider offers perspective and support for access to quality early education and the Parent Aware Ratings.
Parent Aware responds to TC Daily Planet article TC Daily Planet, March 1, 2013 - PASR Executive Director Ericca Maas, Ann McCully and Kathryn Tout respond to Daily Planet article about the Parent Aware Ratings.
Early Learning takes hold with scholarships in St. Paul StarTribune, February 23, 2013 - "Families snap up scholarships under an early learning program that would go statewide if the Legislature agrees to fund it."
Stars in the Making Rochester Post Bulletin, February 22, 2013 - The Parent Aware Ratings are now available in Olmsted County.
Long term benefits of early ed are real "Reaching the neediest children and their parents early is important." StarTribune, February 14, 2013 - Article written by Art Rolnick, PASR board member and Senior Fellow at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs and Rob Grunewald, economist at the Federal Reserve Bank
Dayton budget funds innovative scholarships for low-income preschoolers MinnPost, January 25, 2013 - PASR Executive Director Ericca Maas was quoted in this article about Governor Dayton's proposed budget.