Preschool Access Improvement Crucial To Michigan Economic Development, Business Leaders Say

02/06/2012 4:04
Preschool Access Improvement Crucial To Michigan Economic Development, Business Leaders Say

I’ve said it before, if you want to know what is going to happen next in Australian Early Education look to the US’s failures. You’re sure to see some autocratic government body attempting to implement them (then looking rather sheepish when they don’t work – EYLF is an exception to this rule). What ever happened to learning from others mistakes.

Anyway, I normally have a problem with any corporate  association with Early Educational programmes. I believe their interactions cause government bodies to peel away any creative components of Early Childhood programmes throwing focus solely on items that are beneficial for them (the corporations) and them alone. HOWEVER, (big sigh) They are the only ones, at least in Australia, that are interested in investing any money into the educational system. 

This year the Australian government received a report from an expert panel (GONSKI) that it had commissioned to review the current education system and make recommendation for improvement. In a nutshell the key recommendation was, “Invest money!”. The response was “Can’t! What else you got. Preferably something that allows us to be seen to be doing something without spending any money”

Anyone who has been part of a parent committee or run a community based centre will tell you that when you are desperately attempting to raise funds for the centre, refusing money from an organisation because you may personally disagree with what they represent (Mickey D’s for example), becomes an instance where you have to compromise for the greater good(the centre and the children and families that attend).

SO if corporations are the only ones that are prepared to pay the bills then I suppose we should (cautiously) accept what they have to offer and attempt to salvage what we can between minimalist government funding and the cookie cutter demand of big business. I acknowledge too that in some countries, (see the video below) that just having a pathway to a job is the most important thing.

Excerpts below -the full article can be read from the link above

” Inadequate preschooling is causing Michigan students to fall behind early, making it harder to develop the talented workforce needed for the state to be competitive, business leaders said Wednesday.

A coalition of companies and organizations urged government policymakers to erase a shortage of preschooling for underprivileged children, saying about one-third of the state’s pupils leave kindergarten ill-prepared to begin first grade.

Roughly 70 percent of Michigan’s fourth-grade students are not proficient readers, meaning those deprived of early education are not catching up…………… Michigan has room for only about half of 4-year-olds eligible for publicly funded preschool. About 38,000 are left out each year……………

More than 100 business leaders from around the state have endorsed the council’s plan to improve early childhood education…………….It calls for pumping $130 million into preschool for at-risk 4-year-olds on top of the $100 already being spent, an increase that would accommodate all eligible children.

……..The council said a second urgent priority should be stepping up services to ensure healthy growth during children’s first three years, a period critical to brain development.

In addition to providing a more talented pool of workers, spending more on early education could save taxpayer money in the long run by reducing the need for remedial instruction and other social spending……………………….Early strategic investment in childhood education bears fruit all the way down the line,”

Tess Michaels