Two members of the house of representatives, one appointed by the speaker and one appointed by the minority leader; and two members of the senate appointed by the Subcommittee on Committees of the Committee on Rules and Administration, including one member of the minority; the commissioner of health or the commissioner's designee; and two parents with a child under age six, shall be added to the membership of the State Advisory Council on Early Education and Care. The council must fulfill the duties required under the federal Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007 as provided in Public Law 110-134.
The following duties are added to those assigned to the council under federal law:
(1) make recommendations on the most efficient and effective way to leverage state and federal funding streams for early childhood and child care programs;
(2) make recommendations on how to coordinate or colocate early childhood and child care programs in one state Office of Early Learning. The council shall establish a task force to develop these recommendations. The task force shall include two nonexecutive branch or nonlegislative branch representatives from the council; six representatives from the early childhood caucus; two representatives each from the Departments of Education, Human Services, and Health; one representative each from a local public health agency, a local county human services agency, and a school district; and two representatives from the private nonprofit organizations that support early childhood programs in Minnesota. In developing recommendations in coordination with existing efforts of the council, the task force shall consider how to:
(i) consolidate and coordinate resources and public funding streams for early childhood education and child care, and ensure the accountability and coordinated development of all early childhood education and child care services to children from birth to kindergarten entrance;
(ii) create a seamless transition from early childhood programs to kindergarten;
(iii) encourage family choice by ensuring a mixed system of high-quality public and private programs, with local points of entry, staffed by well-qualified professionals;
(iv) ensure parents a decisive role in the planning, operation, and evaluation of programs that aid families in the care of children;
(v) provide consumer education and accessibility to early childhood education and child care resources;
(vi) advance the quality of early childhood education and child care programs in order to support the healthy development of children and preparation for their success in school;
(vii) develop a seamless service delivery system with local points of entry for early childhood education and child care programs administered by local, state, and federal agencies;
(viii) ensure effective collaboration between state and local child welfare programs and early childhood mental health programs and the Office of Early Learning;
(ix) develop and manage an effective data collection system to support the necessary functions of a coordinated system of early childhood education and child care in order to enable accurate evaluation of its impact;
(x) respect and be sensitive to family values and cultural heritage; and
(xi) establish the administrative framework for and promote the development of early childhood education and child care services in order to provide that these services, staffed by well-qualified professionals, are available in every community for all families that express a need for them.
In addition, the task force must consider the following responsibilities for transfer to the Office of Early Learning:
(B) responsibilities of the commissioner of human services for child care assistance, child care development, and early childhood learning and child protection facilities programs and financing under chapter 119B and section 256E.37; and
(C) responsibilities of the commissioner of health for family home visiting programs and financing under section 145A.17.
Any costs incurred by the council in making these recommendations must be paid from private funds. If no private funds are received, the council must not proceed in making these recommendations. The council must report its recommendations to the governor and the legislature by January 15, 2011;
(3) review program evaluations regarding high-quality early childhood programs;
(4) make recommendations to the governor and legislature, including proposed legislation on how to most effectively create a high-quality early childhood system in Minnesota in order to improve the educational outcomes of children so that all children are school-ready by 2020;
(5) make recommendations to the governor and the legislature by March 1, 2011, on the creation and implementation of a statewide school readiness report card to monitor progress toward the goal of having all children ready for kindergarten by the year 2020. The recommendations shall include what should be measured including both children and system indicators, what benchmarks should be established to measure state progress toward the goal, and how frequently the report card should be published. In making their recommendations, the council shall consider the indicators and strategies for Minnesota's early childhood system report, the Minnesota school readiness study, developmental assessment at kindergarten entrance, and the work of the council's accountability committee. Any costs incurred by the council in making these recommendations must be paid from private funds. If no private funds are received, the council must not proceed in making these recommendations; and
(6) make recommendations to the governor and the legislature on how to screen earlier and comprehensively assess children for school readiness in order to provide increased early interventions and increase the number of children ready for kindergarten. In formulating their recommendations, the council shall consider (i) ways to interface with parents of children who are not participating in early childhood education or care programs, (ii) ways to interface with family child care providers, child care centers, and school-based early childhood and Head Start programs, (iii) if there are age-appropriate and culturally sensitive screening and assessment tools for three-, four-, and five-year-olds, (iv) the role of the medical community in screening, (v) incentives for parents to have children screened at an earlier age, (vi) incentives for early education and care providers to comprehensively assess children in order to improve instructional practice, (vii) how to phase in increases in screening and assessment over time, (viii) how the screening and assessment data will be collected and used and who will have access to the data, (ix) how to monitor progress toward the goal of having 50 percent of three-year-old children screened and 50 percent of entering kindergarteners assessed for school readiness by 2015 and 100 percent of three-year-old children screened and entering kindergarteners assessed for school readiness by 2020, and (x) costs to meet these benchmarks. The council shall consider the screening instruments and comprehensive assessment tools used in Minnesota early childhood education and care programs and kindergarten. The council may survey early childhood education and care programs in the state to determine the screening and assessment tools being used or rely on previously collected survey data, if available. For purposes of this subdivision, "school readiness" is defined as the child's skills, knowledge, and behaviors at kindergarten entrance in these areas of child development: social; self-regulation; cognitive, including language, literacy, and mathematical thinking; and physical. For purposes of this subdivision, "screening" is defined as the activities used to identify a child who may need further evaluation to determine delay in development or disability. For purposes of this subdivision, "assessment" is defined as the activities used to determine a child's level of performance in order to promote the child's learning and development. Work on this duty will begin in fiscal year 2012. Any costs incurred by the council in making these recommendations must be paid from private funds. If no private funds are received, the council must not proceed in making these recommendations. The council must report its recommendations to the governor and legislature by January 15, 2013, with an interim report on February 15, 2011.
An amount up to $12,500 from federal child care and development fund administrative funds and up to $12,500 from prekindergarten exploratory project funds appropriated under Laws 2007, chapter 147, article 19, section 3, may be used to reimburse the parents on the council and for technical assistance and administrative support of the State Advisory Council on Early Childhood Education and Care. This funding stream is for fiscal year 2009. The council may pursue additional funds from state, federal, and private sources. If additional operational funds are received, the council must reduce the amount of prekindergarten exploratory project funds used in an equal amount.