Is Michigan at risk of failing its youngest?
Today we’re sharing a guest blog post from Mina Hong, senior policy associate of our member organization Voices for Michigan’s Children, who recently hosted a town hall meeting with Rep. Tim Walberg on the importance of early care and education:
Since its inception, Michigan’s Children has focused on children’s well-being from cradle-to-career, a concept that aligns with Governor Snyder’s P-20 education continuum. Now Michigan must put its money where its mouth is. While the state has made efforts to support four-year-old preschool, it has failed to provide consistent support for Michigan’s youngest learners – those three years of age and younger.
Policymakers have gained a better understanding of the critical importance of the first 1000 days of life, as evidenced by a recent meeting with Rep. Tim Walberg, a staunch small government Republican who nonetheless sees value in home visiting programs like Parents as Teachers. Beyond healthy development, nurturing in the first three years of life are critical to preventing large racial, ethnic, and economic-related disparities that begin to emerge as young as nine months of age and continue to grow throughout life. Michigan’s Children’s key priorities for the fiscal year 2013 budget are to improve educational outcomes and close equity gaps. Creating a sustainable funding stream for children from birth through age three would provide the foundation for that improvement. High quality supports for infants, toddlers and their families can help reduce and prevent equity gaps.
Learn more about Michigan’s Children’s early childhood priorities.