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LANSING - In his first State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder called for the creation of a new public school model in Michigan that includes children "from pre-natal to lifelong learning."
"We must do more to help students achieve academic success," Snyder said. "We’ve been spending money without delivering the results to give our young people a bright future. It is time that we view our educational system which runs from pre-natal to lifelong learning. It’s time to start talking about P-20 instead of just K-12. We need to establish a system that focuses on real achievement for all of our children. We cannot leave children behind without the tools for success in their adult lives, but we also need to encourage better and faster opportunities for children that can go farther and faster in our system."
P-20 is an education model that is gaining popularity across the country. According to a 2008 executive order by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, "30 states across the nation have created a K-16, P-16 or P-20 structure to improve student achievement by creating a collaborative, seamless system of education guided by the principle that success in college begins in kindergarten."
Judy Y. Samelson, CEO of the Early Childhood Investment Corporation, said she was glad to see Gov. Snyder express an interest in the P-20 concept.
“We need to make preschool a priority when they look at the entire educational experience of a young person in our state. Snyder acknowledged that. We’re glad to hear it,” said Samelson.
“Early childhood initiatives are one of the most important priority in Michigan. Business leaders have said it, advocates for children have said it, parents have said it and now our new governor is saying it. We are looking forward to the administration’s action on early childhood issues in Michigan.”
Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League of Human Services, also said she was "heartened that Gov. Snyder understands that we need to address childhood poverty, infant mortality and reading by the end of third grade as measured in the new Michigan dashboard."
“We are very optimistic about the investments that Gov. Snyder wants to make. He wants results. We want results. There are programs that are successful in helping to lift people out of poverty, such as the state Earned Income Tax Credit, and we are confident that when the governor and the Legislature see the positive results of investments like this, they will embrace them and not erase them."
The Michigan Sandbox Party - a new nonpartisan organization that wants to see continued state investment in early childhood - recently surveyed more than 1,300 people about whether they wanted the governor to address early childhood issues in his speech. To view the results, click here.
For a transcript of Gov. Snyder's entire speech, click here.
The Center for Michigan will host a one-hour televised special this Sunday, January 23, dissecting the governor's speech. Titled “MiVote Citizens Speak: The State of the State,” the program will feature diverse representatives from the more than 10,000 citizens who took part in the Center for Michigan’s “Community Conversations” across Michigan prior to the election.
Tune in at 12:30 p.m. Sunday on Detroit Public Television, Channel 56.