Effort to boost Pre-K access highlighted on bus tour

U.S. Secretary of Education stopped in Lansing on “Return to School Road Trip”
Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 7:08 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The Biden Administration is working to improve access to early childhood education across the country. This includes Head Start programs, a federal program offering preschool to kids from low-income families.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stopped in Lansing Thursday highlighting the effort to make preschool more affordable for families.

“I’m so excited. And I want every child to have that opportunity,” said one participant in the program, Jennifer Flanders-Shouce.

Flanders-Shouce sent her kids to Head Start to help them later in life.

“That is when they are making the most connections inside their brain,” She said. “So it’s very important to teach them then for that foundation.”

The state is working to help kids get a quality education as young as four years old.

As part of the American Rescue Plan, the state increased funding and eligibility for the Great Start Readiness Program. This makes preschool possible for $22,0000 kids from low-income Michigan families.

Secretary Cardona said these programs help with more than just school work.

“It’s not just about numbers and letters. It’s really about building those social skills that are critically important. Those executive functioning skills that we know are good determinants of success,” said Cardona.

Cordona said that’s why the president supports universal pre-K across the country.

Capital Area Community Services runs the Head Start program in Lansing. Early childhood programs director Dr. Nolana Nobles said to make that work, services outside the classroom should be considered.

“We do know that removing barriers for families is just as essential as removing barriers for children when it comes to learning,” said Dr. Nobles.

“Every child deserves a head start no matter what,” said Flanders-Shouce.

The extra funding from the American Rescue Plan runs out in three years.

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