early childhood education

Michigan, learn the lessons of early childhood

There are two approaches to justify initiatives in public policy: arguing from assertions of morality and reasoning from return on investment. The former method is by far the most common in today’s discourse. It’s relatively easy to do and comforting, as well, to […]

Read Phil Power's column

Businesses endorse preschool expansion

To the 100 business leaders who signed the Michigan Early Childhood Business Plan, the choice is simple: Pay a little now, or pay a lot later. And so they gathered on the porch of the Grand Hotel Wednesday at the Mackinac Policy […]

Read Nancy Derringer's article

Michigan has its education funding system backwards

One of the persistently enraging things about the workings of government is how often we see multiple disconnects between what we all know and what it does. Now that it’s back to school time, we can see these disconnects plainly. Example No. 1: […]

Read Phil Power's column

Michigan condemns 30,000 kids to bad start

Anybody who cares about Michigan’s future should know these facts: Children learn the quickest and best from birth to age 5. Early childhood learning programs, especially for poor, minority and vulnerable kids, result in much, much better progress through school and sharply […]

Read Phil Power's column

30,000 children lose out on pre-K classes

Landen Ford wants to go to preschool. The 4-year-old Flushing boy with a crew cut and a toothy grin thought he’d learn the alphabet and his sounds, and maybe make some friends, just like his big brother Logan did last year. But […]

Read Ron French's article

Pre-K access is a challenge across the state

In theory, children from low- and moderate-income homes have an equal opportunity for free, high-quality preschool in every corner of Michigan. But it turns out some corners are more equal than others. In Saginaw, 91 percent of 4-year-olds eligible for Great Start […]

Read Ron French's article

In Grand Rapids, a tale of two kids

Like any mother, Grand Rapids resident Courtney Malone wants the best for her children. That’s why she worries about her 3-year-old son, Bryson, who is on a waiting list for the state’s Great Start Readiness Program. She fears he could be losing […]

Read Ted Roelofs's article

One woman marshals a pre-K army

Maybe she just didn’t have enough experience to know better. Maybe she had a financial incentive. Whatever the reason, Natalie Merryman succeeded where a lot of school districts failed. As a first-year preschool teacher in the Great Start Readiness Program, Merryman was […]

Read Ron French's article

Why the lights never come on in some preschool classrooms

Gobles is a small, rural, almost exclusively white community on the west side of the state. Beecher is an old blue-collar suburb of Flint, racially mixed and overwhelmingly poor. But the children of Gobles and Beecher do share a characteristic — one […]

Read Ron French's article

Michigan lags behind other states in pre-K efforts

The education of Jordan Shaw will start a year later because she lives in Michigan. The Canton girl was in a private preschool program last year as a 3-year-old. But after Jordan’s little brother was born, her parents could no longer afford […]

Read Ron French's article

Preschool’s great, if you can get there

Every morning, a bus picked up 5-year-old kindergartners a block from the Middleton family home in Walker and took them to a Kenowa Hills school. Every morning, Kelly Middleton packed up 4-year-old Seamus and drove him to the very same school. “I’ve […]

Read Ron French's article

Grand Rapids preschool effort strained by budget trends

For Joanne Kelty, the economics of Michigan’s preschool program become more vexing each year. She supervises a program for Grand Rapids Public Schools considered to be a model for the state, with vocal support from the district’s superintendent and school board. Yet […]

Read Ron French's article

Picking winners, losers in preschool

Xavier Eaton is a lucky boy. The Battle Creek child not only got a coveted spot in the state’s free preschool program (Great Start) last year as a 4-year-old, but was in a classroom for a full day, rather than a half-day. […]

Read Ron French's article

Encourage lawmakers to take action on preschool funding gaps

For the first time in years, the door to far-reaching school reform in Michigan is gradually creaking open. But will it stay open? Over the past two weeks, Bridge, the Center for Michigan’s online magazine, has been running a series on early […]

Read Phil Power's column

Business boosts ambitious pre-K expansion plans in Michigan

Momentum is growing for groundbreaking improvements to Michigan’s public preschool programs. Statewide business leaders are leading the way. “It’s become clear to the business community there are thousands of job openings going unfilled for lack of people with adequate skills,” said William […]

Read Bridge Magazine's article

Key senator says state must make long-term commitment to preschool funding

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw Township, made headlines recently when he proposed adding $140 million to the 2013-14 budget for state-funded preschool. Bridge spoke to him about his proposal, the hurdles the proposal might face and why he’s become an outspoken […]

Read Ron French's article

With state funding stuck, communities go DIY on preschool

On a warm summer evening, an ice cream truck moved slowly through a blue collar neighborhood of Holland, offering free ice cream — and free preschool. As children ran to the truck, Ready For School volunteers pulling red wagons offered bilingual Clifford […]

Read Ron French's article

Michigan can teach plenty more preschoolers

In his April 2011 special message on education reform, Gov. Rick Snyder extolled early childhood education as an economic engine for the state. The speech was 13 pages long. He could have made the same point by just introducing legislators to Lilly […]

Read Ron French's article

Invest in non-partisan journalism.

Donate to The Center for Michigan. Find out why.