Push For Universal Preschool

By: Lauren Evans Email
By: Lauren Evans Email

It might not look like reading, writing, and arithmetic, but preschoolers at Eastminster Child Development Center are learning nonetheless.

"Preschool gives the children a jump start," says Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, (D) Salem.

That's why she and Rep. Rebekah Warren, (D) Ann Arbor, are pushing for universal preschool in Michigan.

"It's important to get those little brains working," Smith says. "Four years is within that range of zero to five, when we get the best bang for our buck with the kids' brains."

Putting every four-year-old through preschool would cost a pretty penny. The state would fund it, in part, through an income tax increase. Costing taxpayers more now, says Warren, but saving them more in the long run.

"We know from 20 years of research, that every dollar that we invest in early childhood education saves us at a minimum $7 on the back end, in costs for remedial education, social services, juvenile justice, corrections," Warren explains. "So that early focus on early childhood education really just means we're saving money, we're investing in the future."

Educators believe preschool is so important because the skills kids learn here give them a head-start in kindergarten.

"We're doing everything from numbers and letters to manners and second language," says Brett Boden, lead preschool teacher at Eastminster.

"Every kid needs something like this before they start grade school," he says, so kids are properly prepared to hit the books.

"We've got to have our kids entering school ready to learn," echoes Warren. "So that they can go on and get that post-secondary education we know is critical for the jobs of tomorrow."

Should The State Require All Kids To Go To Preschool?

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  • by Anonymous on Apr 3, 2009 at 12:24 PM
    The MEA needs to have more members. By requiring the schools to hire another grade level, they can see about an 8% increase in membership.
  • by jon Location: mi on Mar 31, 2009 at 07:35 PM
    Who's running our government anyway?Why are we suddently making all of these kinds of changes?
  • by jen Location: mi on Mar 31, 2009 at 07:31 PM
    I wonder what the second language is?
  • by Scratch my Back on Mar 31, 2009 at 05:20 PM
    This isn't about the kids. It's about appeasing the MEA. So when those 4 year olds don't measure up to their peers they will be chastized by their parents and won't that be great for these young minds. The MEA and the democrats are sure desperate for future voters. Life is not a level playing field. Another example of Government intrusion, next they will tag your newborn in the hospital and grade them like the FDA does our meat.
  • by Stacy Location: Lansing on Mar 31, 2009 at 04:54 PM
    I think it would be more appropriate if the parent's would decide when their child is ready for school and not the gov't.
  • by Michael Location: St. Johns on Mar 31, 2009 at 03:17 PM
    This is an invasion of parents rights. It doesn't surprise me, considering the political climate in this country. People seem to be begging to give their rights away. If a parent decides to put their child in preschool that is fine. We need to keep are "Freedom of Choice". Proud Parent of Two
  • by Anonymous on Mar 31, 2009 at 02:17 PM
    Now they are extending the pathetic school system to all ages. These legistlators just think that throwing money at a problem fixes it. Look at the detroit schools.
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