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Universal free Pre-K in Michigan called a 'game changer' for Washtenaw County

Ypsilanti Cooperative Preschool
Ypsilanti Cooperative Preschool

Michigan Governor Whitmer’s proposal to make free universal childcare available for all four-year-olds in the state is being looked at as a ‘game changer’ in Washtenaw County.

The head of Early Childhood Education at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District says they have been slowed in expansion of their “Great Start Readiness” programs because of teacher shortages and limits on locations.

Eddie Manuszak says a portion of the governor’s plan would offer infrastructure funding to school districts, allowing them to expand beyond the current 50 classroom spaces for free pre-K now available in Washtenaw County.

“For them to expand, they would have to take that individual look, and we would help them look to see if they have the capability to add more space and more programs. It looks like the scaffold is in place to make this happen.”

Manuszak says studies continue to show that students with strong pre-K educations make significantly higher wages in adulthood.

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Cathy Shafran was WEMU's afternoon news anchor and local host during WEMU's broadcast of NPR's All Things Considered.
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