- About Great Start
- Great Start In Your Community
- News & Media Center
- Early Childhood Home Visiting Program
- Great Start to Quality
- Requests for Proposals
- Employment Opportunities
- Early Learning Advisory Council
The School Aid budget approved by the Michigan Senate for fiscal year 2013 includes an increase in funding for the Great Start Readiness program (GSRP) of $10 million, bringing total funding to $105.4 million. The budget approved by the House of Representatives left funding at current year levels, so the differences will have to be worked out in a joint House/Senate conference committee that is expected to begin meeting next week.
The GSRP program has been shown to improve school readiness and achievement, and save the state money. GSRP graduates are less likely to be held back a grade, do better on 4th grade reading and math assessments, and are more likely to complete high school on time. A study commissioned by the Early Childhood Investment Corporation found that Michigan saved $1.1 billion in 2009 alone because of investments in school readiness programs over the last 25 years.
Michigan’s GSRP program is for 4-year-olds who are at risk educationally. While there are an estimated 38,000 children eligible for GSRP who are not enrolled, Michigan doesn’t provide state-funded preschool opportunities for 3-year-olds as many states do, and even fewer state resources are available for infants and toddlers. Unfortunately, given what we now know about the development of the human brain, the failure to provide services to very young children undermines the state’s efforts to ensure that all children are ready for school and can achieve.
The potential expansion of the GSRP provides Michigan with an opportunity to establish a consistent funding stream for services for the youngest children. The Early Childhood Investment Corporation has joined with child advocates to urge legislators to set aside at least 20 percent of any new funding for the GSRP for services for children from birth through age 3. Funds should be used by the Office of Great Start in the Michigan Department of Education on a competitive basis for evidence-based or promising program or services that: