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Mon January 25, 2010
MI Superintendent stresses early childhood education funding
By Laura Weber, Michigan Public Radio Network
LANSING, MI –
The state schools superintendent says it's important to make early-childhood-development program funding a higher priority in the state. Last year lawmakers gave school districts the option of diverting early child funds to plug budget holes.
Superintendent Michael Flanagan says pre-kindergarten needs to be well-funded because most brain development happens before age four. He says there needs to be a focus on preparing children for college - and that means small class sizes for kids developing in preschool, and introducing larger lectures for high school students.
"I mean my daughter is a high school teacher so she'd kill me for this, but class size is a work issue, not a really a child issue," he says. "And I get that. She's already got 150 kids. But I'm just saying you can reorganize that so there are some courses that really are lecture courses."
Flanagan was joined Monday by researchers and business groups who say Michigan's economy could benefit greatly with a stronger emphasis on early-childhood development programs. They say the state would save money with fewer kids in special education, repeating grades and getting in trouble with the law.