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The Center for Michigan, a nonprofit “think-and-do tank” formed in 2006, published a two-part special report this week on the state’s early childhood efforts and the funding perils they face. The second article of that report, “Michigan advocates gird for big preschool funding battles in 2010,” is reprinted here by permission:

Early childhood advocates have for years made the argument that investing in early childhood efforts, including but not limited to prekindergarten, is a wise economic investment. More and more researchers are agreeing. The most recent example here in Michigan is W.E. Upjohn Institute senior economist Timothy Bartik, who was featured in a recent Detroit Free Press article.

The annual Kids Count in Michigan Data Book 2009 report highlights the toll the state’s prolonged economic problems have had on children, including its youngest. Childhood poverty rose by 6 percent, with nearly one in five Michigan children living in poverty.

The Detroit News weighed in on this week’s Kids Count report, saying, “Michigan must educate its way out of its economic crisis. In the global knowledge economy, the best educated, highest skilled workers and their communities are the winners.” Read the entire editorial here.

LANSING - Early Childhood Investment Corporation staffers and contractors got a chance to play Santa Claus last week, putting together gift and care packages for Lansing-area children.

EAST LANSING - Hundreds of early childhood advocates vowed this week to prevent state lawmakers from putting programs for young children at the head of the line (read full 'Never Again' paper here) next year when it comes to budget cuts.

EAST LANSING - Creating a single place within state government to coordinate early childhood programs and funding should be a top priority, the state's top early childhood advocates said this week.

Van Tol wins first ever Great Start Fierce Heart Award

That initiative was among the components of what advocates called their "Fiscal Year 2011 Early Childhood Policy Agenda"...