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Letter: Clausen has worked hard for education

To the editor,

I just want everyone to know that our very own state senator, Greg Clausen, has taken a leadership role in improving E-12 and higher education in Minnesota. Please check out the bills that he has authored and sponsored.

The all-day kindergarten bill is perhaps the most significant E-12 piece of legislation Clausen has authored. Minnesota is one of about a dozen states that does not provide funding for all-day kindergarten. Senate File 2 proposes that all-day kindergarten be funded and is voluntary for school districts to implement. All-day kindergarten is a significant education investment for our state and provides an important step toward enhancing Minnesota's commitment to quality education for all children. There have been several studies which validate the advantages of all-day kindergarten programs in improving literacy and basic skills in math and reading. There are also studies indicating greater earnings and fewer criminal justice contacts for those attending all-day kindergarten programs. All-day kindergarten has been credited with narrowing the achievement gap among racial/ethnic groups. All-day kindergarten is an investment in the State of Minnesota, an investment in our children and an investment in our business community which will ultimately determine the quality of life for our citizens.

As vice chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee, Clausen is also concerned about the high cost for a post-secondary education. He has introduced two bills to assist graduates with student loan debt. One bill, Senate File 997, Education Opportunity Income Tax Credit, provides a tax credit for students graduating with a degree or certificate from a Minnesota public or private higher education institution, living in Minnesota and making regular payments on a student loan. The second proposal, Senate File 403, studies the feasibility of refinancing higher education student loans at lower interest rates.

As a teacher and parent of children who have graduated from District 196, I know how important our investment in education can be to our future citizens. Education pays off. I know my own children and my former students can attribute their own success to the excellent school district that they attended. I also know that continued investment will pay off richly when our children and other's children become a competent, well-educated workforce.

Janet Rohlf,