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MPR DEBATE: Franken leading the charge to help close achievement gap

Investment banker Mike McFadden’s claim that Sen. Franken has done nothing to close the achievement gap is patently false. Sen. Franken is actually the one “leading the charge in the Senate” to expand early childhood education, which will help close the achievement gap.

FACT: FRANKEN HAS BEEN FIGHTING TO EXPAND EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, WHICH WILL HELP CLOSE THE ACHIEVMENT GAP

May 2011: Franken “Is Leading The Charge In The Senate For Early Childhood Education Funding.” According to KARE, Education Secretary Arne “Duncan came to St. Paul at the invitation of Senator Al Franken, a Democrat who is leading the charge in the Senate for early childhood education funding. He plans on calling Minneapolis economist Art Rolnick to Washington to testify on the long-term returns from investing in pre-kindergarten programs. ‘Secretary Duncan has been a champion of early childhood, and a champion of after school programs,’ Sen. Franken told reporters, ‘He knows as well as anybody how transformative those things are.’” [KARE, 5/31/11]

December 2011: Franken Helped Secure Federal “Promise Neighborhood” Funds For Northside Achievement Zone. According to an October 2012 release, “In December, NAZ in Minneapolis was selected as one of only five sites in the country to receive federal ‘Promise Neighborhood’ funding – $28 million over five years – to improve children’s educational outcomes in North Minneapolis … Sen. Franken supported efforts in Congress to bring the funding to NAZ.” [Franken Press Release, 10/4/12]

November 2013: Minnesota Education Advocacy Group MinnCAN Backed Franken’s Bill To Improve Early Childhood Education. According to a November 2013 blog post, “We’re thrilled to share that we signed on as a supporter of Sen. Franken’s Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce Improvement Act. We don’t often weigh in on federal-level bills, but Sen. Franken’s act is such a natural fit given our/Minnesota’s work on Race to the Top, expanding Parent Aware and increasing access to high-quality pre-K for low-income kids (via the MinneMinds campaign). It also presents a meaningful opportunity to further strengthen early education outcomes for Minnesota kids.” [MinnCAN, 11/19/13]

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