Gov. Whitmer Calls for Major Early Child Education Funding Boost
Getting kids off on the right foot, Governor Gretchen Whitmer wants to make sure more Michiganders get that chance with full time education before they reach kindergarten.
Michigan does not have ‘universal Pre-K’ education for all students, but it does have the Great Start Readiness Program, that makes full day education possible for more than 40,000 Michigan four-year-old’s.
A new plan hopes to fill that gap.
“You start off stumbling and sometimes that stumble continues throughout your career,” said Senator Jim Ananich of Flint.
Governor Whitmer announced an expansion to the GRSP, a $405 million investment to increase availability and access to Pre-k education.
“We are in a position where we can make some investments,” said Whitmer, “This is the kind of transformative investment that will yield immediate dividends but, long-term as well.”
Studies show students who begin their education before leaving kindergarten, excel at much higher rates. The success works no matter the part of the state.
“There is nothing we could do more to give our children a better start to their education,” said Detroit mayor Mike Duggan.
No Republican lawmakers were on hand for the announcement but Whitmer stressed this was a bipartisan plan. Mayor Duggan said it would have passed last year, if not for the pandemic.
“I talked extensively with [Senate Majority Leader] Senator [Mike] Shirkey about it,” said Sen. Ananich, “He knows the priority for me and gave me his commitment that he would be supportive of the four-year-old component. I said I’ll keep working on him for more.”
To be eligible for the GSRP, families must make less than 250% of the poverty line. That is about $66,000 for a family of four.
The push in the past has been to make every student eligible, no matter income.
“Absolutely, that is the goal,” said Whitmer, “To ensure that every young child has an opportunity at early childhood education. That’s our ultimate goal and we’re moving in that direction.”