124D.175 MINNESOTA EARLY LEARNING FOUNDATION.
(a) The commissioner must make a grant to the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation to
implement an early childhood development grant program for low-income and other challenged
families that increases the effectiveness and expands the capacity of public and nonpublic early
childhood development programs, which may include child care programs, and leads to improved
early childhood parent education and children's kindergarten readiness. The program must include:
(1) grant awards to existing early childhood development program providers that also
provide parent education programs and to qualified providers proposing to implement pilot
programs for this same purpose;
(2) grant awards to enable low-income families to participate in these programs;
(3) grant awards to improve overall programmatic quality; and
(4) an evaluation of the programmatic and financial efficacy of all these programs, which
may be performed using measures of services, staffing, and management systems that provide
consistent information about system performance, show trends, confirm successes, and identify
potential problems in early childhood development programs.
This grant program must not supplant existing early childhood development programs or child
(b) The commissioner must make a grant to a private nonprofit, section 501(c)(3)
organization to implement the requirements of paragraph (a). The private nonprofit organization
must be governed by a board of directors composed of members from the public and nonpublic
sectors, where the nonpublic sector members compose a simple majority of board members and
where the public sector members are state and local government officials, kindergarten through
grade 12 or postsecondary educators, and early childhood providers appointed by the governor.
Membership on the board of directors by a state agency official are work duties for the official
and are not a conflict of interest under section
. The board of directors must appoint an
executive director and must seek advice from geographically and ethnically diverse parents of
young children and representatives of early childhood development providers, kindergarten
through grade 12 and postsecondary educators, public libraries, and the business sector.
The board of directors is subject to the open meeting law under chapter 13D. All other terms
and conditions under which board members serve and operate must be described in the articles
and bylaws of the organization. The private nonprofit organization is not a state agency and is not
subject to laws governing public agencies except the provisions of chapter 13, salary limits under
15A.0815, subdivision 2
, and audits by the legislative auditor under chapter 3 apply.
(c) In addition to the duties under paragraph (a), the Minnesota Early Learning Foundation
(MELF) shall evaluate the effectiveness of the voluntary NorthStar Quality Improvement and
Rating System. The NorthStar Quality Improvement and Rating System must:
(1) provide consumer information for parents on child care and early education program
quality and ratings;
(2) set indicators to identify quality in care and early education settings, including licensed
family child care and centers, tribal providers and programs, Head Start and school-age programs,
and identify quality programs through ratings and ongoing monitoring of programs;
(3) provide funds for provider improvement grants and quality achievement grants;
(4) require participating providers to incorporate the state's early learning standards in their
curriculum activities and develop appropriate child assessments aligned with the kindergarten
(5) provide accountability for the NorthStar Quality Improvement and Rating System's
effectiveness in improving child outcomes and kindergarten readiness; and
(6) align current and new state investments to improve the quality of child care with the
NorthStar Quality Improvement and Rating System framework, by providing accountability
and informed parent choice.
The Minnesota Early Learning Foundation shall report back to the legislature by January 15,
2008, on the progress being made under this paragraph.
(d) This section expires June 30, 2011. If no state appropriation is made for purposes of this
section, the commissioner must not implement paragraphs (a) and (b).
History: 1Sp2005 c 5 art 7 s 15; 2006 c 282 art 2 s 9