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Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

Early childhood proposal draws media gaze

A coalition of business and community leaders announced the backing of 100 business leaders Wednesday for a plan to commit $130 million to insure that all eligible 4-year-olds in Michigan can attend half-day preschool. Research shows that as many as 38,000 eligible preschoolers are not receiving preschool services because of a lack of funds in Michigan.

The policy announcement, at the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce's Mackinac Policy Conference, was made by Debbie Dingell and Doug Luciani, co-chairs of the Children's Leadership Council of Michigan.*

"The goal of the council’s initiative is to encourage the state of Michigan to act with new commitment to ensure that all Michigan children arrive at school ready to succeed," said Luciani, prior to the Wednesday press conference.

The proposal released Wednesday did not endorse a tax increase or a specific funding method to extend services to the unserved 38,000 youngsters.

Media round-up of early childhood plan

* Detroit Public Television cameras are on Mackinac Island providing full coverage of the policy conference, including events tied to early childhood issues and the CLC's funding proposal:

Early Childhood Session

* CLC Co-chairs Dingell and Luciani write in the Detroit News, "By age 5, as much as 90 percent of a child's intellectual and emotional brain wiring has been set. In effect, a child has until 5 to acquire many of the learning and social skills necessary for a productive future, to be employees and employers":

* The Detroit News Editorial Board endorses a push supported by the Center for Michigan and the Children's Leadership Council of Michigan to expand preschool programs. "A robust partnership between the business community and state early childhood initiatives could make a difference for many of Michigan's children. That's a priceless investment":

* Panelists discussing early childhood ed at Mackinac Policy Conference point to the science on child development to make case that greater investment is vital:

*The Center for Michigan, Bridge's parent organization, is a member of the CLC.

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