preschool

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

A new twist in the debate about children’s vaccinations: parents really have no idea how many little kids are not fully vaccinated. 

That’s one finding from a new national poll done by the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

The majority of parents – 74% to be exact– say they would remove their kids from day care if another child was not up-to-date on vaccines.

But in reality, one in four preschoolers aren’t up to date on their vaccinations, according to the CDC.  

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

A group of organizations in Detroit announced that today they got official word they'll be sharing around $50 million in federal funds over the course of five years for early childhood education programs.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of Michigan athletes and coaches is calling on state lawmakers to spend more money on early childhood education.

Governor Snyder is asking for an additional $65 million for the Great Start Readiness Program.

Jeff Kirsch is with Champions For America’s Future. He says children learn important skills in pre-K, like teamwork, getting along with people, and sticking to tasks.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

This week, Governor Rick Snyder made good on his promise to boost preschool spending.

Today he got a chance to talk to some parents, teachers and school administrators in Grand Rapids about the proposal.

About a dozen four-year-olds sat in a circle around Gov. Snyder. He read them "Snowmen at Work," a children’s tale about what snowmen do for a living.

“Are they in school just like you?” Snyder asked the group. 

"Yeah!” they replied in unison.

“You have fun at school?"

"Yeah!”

School student in Japan reading a book outside
Mehan / Creative Commons

Lawmakers are working out the details of a proposal that would flunk Michigan students who can’t read at “proficient” levels by the end of the third grade.

Many in the education community are opposed to the legislation, including The Michigan Association of School Boards, Michigan Association of School Administrators, the American Federation of Teachers.

The Michigan Association of Public School Academies supports it.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

More streetlight and less blight in Detroit in 60 days

Detroit's emergency manager says residents will be able to notice more robust city services within the next two months. As the Detroit News reports,

"After five months on the job, Kevyn Orr says efforts to restore streetlights and reduce the number of abandoned structures will become more visible within 60 days. Meanwhile, dozens of new public safety vehicles are hitting the streets, and police officers and firefighters are being outfitted with new gear and equipment."

More high speed rail in south Michigan

"Michigan is adding more high-speed rail. The federal government will give the state more than $9 million to upgrade train tracks between Dearborn and Kalamazoo. The upgrade allows Amtrak trains to travel as fast as 110 miles an hour," Tracy Samilton reports.

Funding boost will allow more kids in preschool

"As many as 16,000 more 4-year-olds will be able to attend preschool in Michigan this fall, thanks to a big boost in the state's early education budget," the Associated Press reports.

Big jump in preschool slots for Michigan children

Sep 8, 2013
WoodleyWonderWorks / Flickr

As many as 16,000 more 4-year-olds will be able to attend preschool in Michigan this fall, thanks to a big boost in the state's early education budget.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There is some good news in Michigan’s battle with obesity.  

Fewer Michigan children qualify as obese. 

More than 30% of Michiganders are considered obese.   Michigan ranks as the 5th fattest state in the union.

But there may be hope for the future.

A new Centers for Disease Control report finds a slight decline in obesity rates for “low-income” pre-school children in Michigan.  

The rate dropped from 13.9% to 13.2 % between 2008 and 2011.

Steve Burt 1947 / Flickr

Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity team has been covering the research around early childhood education and the role it plays in a child's development.

That topic was discussed at the 2013 Mackinac Policy Conference this morning.

The Legislature and Governor Snyder have shown interest in boosting early ed programs in the state, but how much should they commit, and what kinds of programs work?

Michigan Radio's Jennifer White led a panel discussion on early education in Michigan.

Watch the discussion below (scroll five minutes in):

Panelists included:

Carla D. Thompson, vice president for program strategy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Rob Grunewald, economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Bob Harbison, board member, Smart Start Oklahoma

Preschool-age boy practicing writing his name at a table in a Head Start classroom.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

"It's certainly a good day for early childhood advocates." - Matt Gillard of the Michigan Sandbox Party

Dustin Dwyer from our State of Opportunity team has more on the expected increase for early childhood education in Michigan:

The annual legislative brawl over how to spend the state's money is expected to come to a close this week in Lansing. The budgets currently under consideration include many changes. One of the biggest is a nearly 60 percent increase in the state's funding for early education.

The governor initially proposed a $65 million increase for the Great Start Readiness Program (GSRP) in his budget. The proposal went back and forth as it made its way through the legislature this year, but it's now looking like the governor will get his way.

Read his full report here.

If there’s agreement on anything having to do with education policy in Michigan, it is that we aren’t getting the results we need.

Too many students are emerging from school with too few skills to make them competitive for jobs, not to mention the intellectual resources to live fulfilled and happy lives.

And our leaders are locked in increasingly bitter debates over what to do about this. Democrats blame conservatives for cutting education budgets and demonizing teachers and their unions. Republicans want to divert funding from traditional public schools and encourage parents to let free enterprise charter schools do the job.

But now there is significant evidence that both sets of arguments miss the real reason many Susies and Johnnies can’t read. The problem is that we are focusing on the wrong age group.

A new plan outlines a path for the Detroit Public Schools to grow again.

The “Neighborhood-Centered, Quality Schools” plan centers around the idea of “community schools” that offer a wide array of services to the community.

Capitol Building, Lansing, MI
Matthileo / Flickr

Battle lines are beginning to emerge in the fight to increase preschool funding in Michigan.

State lawmakers held their first committee hearings this week on a proposal to increase funding for the state's preschool program by $65 million in next year's budget. Governor Snyder wants another increase the following year, which would more than double the state's current investment in preschool. 

During a joint House committee hearing today in Lansing, there was plenty of skepticism of the plan coming from members of Snyder's own party. 

Preschool-age boy practicing writing his name at a table in a Head Start classroom.
Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

The debate over federal spending cuts has made Head Start a major topic of conversation in Washington. Leaders from both parties warn that tens of thousands of kids will lose a chance at Head Start’s preschool program, if the across-the-board spending cuts are allowed to happen.

To some critics, cutting Head Start would be a good thing. They think it is a failure, and not worth the money. 

Logan Chadde / Michigan Radio

Stockbridge is a village similar to many places around the state. The economy is tough, industry has gone, and the school system is one of few ways kids from the town can get a leg up.

All this week we're going inside this small town school district. Like a lot places, they're trying to make sure their kids have educational opportunity, even in the face of shrinking state aid and a tough economy.

Today's story is a look at how the district made a push over a decade ago to try to convince parents early childhood education was worth the expense. The district now educates over half of their incoming kindergarten class in their preschool program.

In addition to these daily stories, youth journalists from Stockbridge High School report on what educational opportunity and coming of age in rural Michigan looks like from their perspective. 

Find the whole series at State of Opportunity.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Clarification: We've updated the story to make the funding comparisons more clear.

In his State of the State address last week, Governor Snyder called for $1.2 billion a year over the next ten years to address the “toughest single issue” of 2013: roads.

At the same time, Snyder called for an increase in funding to early childhood education.

The governor mentioned the 29,000 four-year-olds eligible for a spot in the state’s Great Start Readiness preschool program (GSRP).

When it comes to kids in poverty, can preschool make a difference?

Dec 5, 2012
Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Providing a child in poverty with quality early education is expensive, but so is letting that child rely on government assistance as an adult. The question is: which cost would society rather pay?

Larry Schweinhart says society should pay the upfront costs associated with early education and reap the benefits later.

How a Nobel Prize-winning economist became an advocate for preschool

Nov 28, 2012
heckmanequation.org

There's a growing consensus that more needs to be done to prepare children for kindergarten. 

But does preschool really have a significant impact on the lives of children? State of Opportunity's Dustin Dwyer recently sat down with economist James Heckman to find out.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

148,000 Michiganders getting settlement letters

Michigan residents who lost their homes to foreclosure between 2008-2011 will be sent claims forms as part of a $25 billion national settlement of complaints about improper conduct by lenders. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says about 148,000  are being sent claims forms. "Schuette said Tuesday that those eligible to share in the settlement lost their homes to foreclosure in 2008-2011. He says his office continues to look at possible criminal actions involving what are called "robo-signing" practices in foreclosures. Robo-signing involves people signing documents without proper review. Eligible borrowers had mortgages serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. The companies agreed to the settlement with the federal government and attorneys general for 49 states and the District of Columbia," the AP reports.

House bill would make it easier and cheaper to get public records

"The chairman of a state House committee says it’s too easy for government agencies to delay and sidestep requests for public records. The state House Oversight, Reform, and Ethics Committee opened hearings yesterday on measures to make it easier and cheaper for people to get public records. One bill would limit how much government agencies could charge for providing copies of records. Another would create a state commission to hear citizen complaints about compliance with Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act," Jake Neher reports.

30,000 kids missing from preschool

"Because of uneven or inadequate state funding, around 30,000 4-year-olds eligible for public preschool in Michigan are not enrolled. That's according to a new report by Bridge Magazine. More than half the kids in the state are eligible for public preschool because they are from low or moderate income families. But, some districts don't have enough money to meet demand. State officials admit money for the program is uneven and inadequate. Momentum for more early childhood education funding appears to be growing among legislators. The Snyder administration has also said it's a priority," Sarah Alvarez reports.

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

This week, Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity reporter looked into children's first glimpse of classroom education-- preschool.

Dwyer reports that although early education can have a profound effect on the development of children, there aren't enough classes to go around.  Only about half of preschool-aged children attend classes.

He found one solution in Grand Rapids Public Schools, where preschools have extended classes into the summer.

Listen to Dwyer's story, in which parents, guardians and teachers of preschoolers speak about the benefits of summertime preschool and the challenges they face providing education opportunities for their children.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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