Through its 10-year life, Ready 4 K pitched the idea that child care and early childhood education ought to seen as one and the same.
The early ed advocacy organization announced Monday that it has taken that message to its organizational conclusion: Ready 4 K has merged with Resources for Child Caring, forming a new organization called Think Small: Leaders in Early Learning.
Think Small will be headed by Barbara Yates, Resources for Child Caring’s executive director and the head of Gov. Mark Dayton’s Early Learning Council. Todd Otis, the former DFL legislator who headed Ready 4 K, will be the new organization’s director of community partnerships.
The Great Recession squeeze on nonprofit budgets is undoubtedly part of this merger story. But so is the need for a more concerted voice about state policies affecting little learners.
Every year that Ready 4 K came to the Capitol, lawmakers struggled to match their rhetoric about early education’s importance with the reality of chronically tight money. A divided message from advocates gave lawmakers an excuse to say no.
This year brings both new federal funds and a newly unified front for early ed. Maybe Minnesota can yet produce a bigger share of five-year-olds who are (to borrow an old name) ready for kindergarten.
Lori Sturdevant is a Star Tribune editorial writer and columnist.
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