Increased funding necessary for early childhood education

Early childhood education has been underfunded in Michigan for years, and it is time that Michigan’s lawmakers increase our children’s education opportunities by expanding early childhood education programs.

​Gov. Rick Snyder is asking lawmakers to increase funding for early childhood education programs by $130 million over two years, beginning with a $65-million increase in 2013-2014 budget.

​Increasing funding for these programs would provide more opportunities for low-income preschoolers to enroll in early childhood education classes.  JUMP

There's currently $109 million allocated for the Great Start Readiness program, serving 32,000 of Michigan’s children. Another 29,000 children are eligible, but cannot be served.

​If the Michigan Legislature adopts Snyder’s plan, 16,000 more children could enter this program next year, and an additional 18,000 could enter a year later. This means 66,000 openings would be available for these children to enter preschool, more than doubling the current number of openings available.

​The budget passed by the state Senate mirrors Snyder’s recommendation, but the House is proposing only an increase of only $38 million -- $27 million less than what Snyder asked for.

​It is essential that Michigan increases funding for early childhood education programs. Research shows these programs help children enter kindergarten with the skills needed to succeed in school. Children who attend preschool also have higher high school graduation rates and college attendance, and lower rates in teen pregnancy and crime.

Please contact your state representative and urge him or her to support the Governor and Senate’s plan to increase early childhood education funding by $65 million.