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Posted on Mon, May 6, 2013 : 6:59 p.m.

Education secretary in Ypsilanti: Michigan could receive $160M for early childhood education

By Danielle Arndt


U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speaks as Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder looks on during a panel discussion at Perry Child Development Center in Ypsilanti Monday.

Daniel Brenner |

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan promoted both the human and financial value of a high-quality preschool education Monday in Ypsilanti.

The secretary's stop at the Perry Child Development Center helped kick off the federal government's push to provide incentives for early childhood education nationwide.

Duncan was accompanied by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder to the Ypsilanti public elementary school. The two served on a panel comprised of mostly board members from the HighScope Educational Research Foundation, which launched the landmark Perry Preschool Study in 1962.


Beth Berglin kisses her son Miles, 5 months old, as they listen to Gov. Rick Snyder and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan speak at Perry Child Development Center in Ypsilanti Monday

Daniel J. Brenner |

HighScope is an international, nonprofit research, development, training and public outreach organization headquartered in Ypsilanti. In the Perry Preschool Study, HighScope's researchers have followed two groups of then-3- and 4-year-olds from their preschool experience into adulthood.

The study, which was last updated in 2005, found that children who attended a high-quality preschool had higher earnings 40 years later and had committed fewer crimes than those who did not attend preschool.

Duncan said early childhood education is a "game-changer" and changes the trajectory of children's lives and success. The federal government, through President Barack Obama's Preschool for All proposal, intends to invest $75 billion over 10 years in states that demonstrate a commitment to early childhood education. Michigan would be eligible for $160 million, Duncan said Monday.

"Taxpayer money we need to take very seriously, these are tough economic times," Duncan said. "The fact that we have a 40-year, almost 50-year longitudinal study of kids coming from Perry Preschool here that demonstrates a 7-to-1 return on investment, that's not something you can ignore. ... So the work done here with the children, with the control group, the longterm study, demonstrates, I think, beyond a shadow of a doubt how important this investment is."

Duncan said there are many examples of high-quality early childhood education programs that exist, and while HighScope certainly is a champion and has done "fantastic work," the federal government does not intend to promote one methodology over the others.

HighScope's preschool program and curriculum take a participatory learning approach. And while Duncan said the federal government would not be supporting or endorsing one method over the others, HighScope President and lead researcher Larry Schweinhart said, "If you want to get what we got, you've got to do what we did.

"You can't say let's do family day care. ... All early childhood development programs are not created equal."

Schweinhart said moving toward quality early childhood programs through regular and ongoing preschool teacher evaluations, assessing effective program implementation and children's progress in preschool programs is something both Snyder and Duncan are committed to. Schweinhart said that's encouraging.

Schweinhart said the foundation is working on another round of the Perry Preschool Study for year 50, collecting further data and taking a much stronger look at health, as the preschool study participants get older.

"This is one of the earliest places that started the whole preschool movement. ... We should be proud it's in Ypsilanti and in Michigan," Snyder said. "The evidence continues to build up about the importance of preschool, so we look forward to really putting it as a positive initiative at the state level. We've got it in the budget this year and want to get rid of our waiting lists (for Michigan's Great Start Readiness Program) for people in need over the next two years.

"It's great to have a partner, such as the federal government and Arne Duncan, looking at how to do programs at the federal level that match what we want to do here as a state."

Duncan's appearance in Ypsilanti was one of three stops he and Snyder made in the Detroit area Monday. They also visited a fifth-grade class at Thirkell Elementary School in Detroit and Brenda Scott Elementary/Middle School, which the state Education Achievement Authority manages. The authority was created to run schools the state classifies as failing.

Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Fri, May 10, 2013 : 4:22 p.m.

A note to L.Schweinhart. "I am concerned about your statement "'ve got to do what we did" Weikart in his original research did not say one program was the be all end all for young children. He said teachers have to believe in their program and parents have to be involved. You have to consider the whole package to make the data valid. As per Pat Gardner, Southern California


Wed, May 8, 2013 : 2:26 a.m.

By all accounts the Federal Government is continuing to manipulate and infiltrate the states education system to where it will eventually undermine and take more control with more programs such common core initiatives that are now being questioned if they really help our children, the more the Federal government has control by such tactics as by dropping a few hundred million here and there the more control they'll have. Good luck, theres a price to pay when the hand feeds you.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:38 p.m.

Mr Snyder continues the charade


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 5:37 p.m.

As if Rick cared for children in Michigan....thanks for the laugh of the day!


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:50 p.m.

You can bet that upon approval of these Federal Funds to Michigan, the GOP will be introducing bills to privatize these projects and finance their buddies in the education business.

Wake Up A2

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 9:48 a.m.

The look on Ricky's face says it all.... I wonder if I can get that 160 million to my friends at the EAA..... Then I can get a piece of it to.....


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 9:26 a.m.

Is there somehow we could take that $160M and siphon off some to businesses? Could we just divert some to higher ed? Let's just make sure that as little as possible goes to education.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 2:31 a.m.

Sweet. Now all kids will be ready for kindergarten, where they will be with 35 of their peers, one teacher, and a slew of soul-sucking standardized tests. Awesome. Love our state. Love Lansing.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 6:52 a.m.

35 may be a low number in the future.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:45 a.m.

That's great; a guy from Washington flys in for a feel-good photo shoot to give away federal money that they don't have and will have to print or borrow. Makes you wonder why we have a 16 trillion dollar debt, doesn't it? For all you Rick Snyder naysayers, you should feel good that he is getting the hang of bringing in the federal bacon.........................


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 7:44 p.m.

Ignatz - glad you don't mind dumping all of this debt on your kids


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 11:47 a.m.

I don't mind so much that we are borrowing money for children's education. It's better than borrowing it to murder women and children in foreign lands.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 6:52 a.m.

the Rickster is lucky High Scope exists, not vice versa.


Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:33 a.m.

There is nothing we could invest in as a state that would help our children more. Nothing improves academic outcomes more than the right start. Bravo to both Arne Duncan and Rick Snyder for pushing this. It is absolutely the right thing to do.

Michigan Man

Tue, May 7, 2013 : 1:19 a.m.

This guy Duncan is vastly overrated. He lead the Chicago Public Schools into a total disaster. White, black, hispanic and all others in Chicago connected to the public school system can't stand the guy. He accomplished nothing while in Chicago. One positive though - basketball + Harvard buddy of Obama - Most in Chicago in the know think that is why Obama brought him to DC - part of BBall crowd. He just left the Chicago school in God awful shape.