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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Preschool Gets a Boost

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The Associated Press
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The nation's largest increase in preschool funding over the last two years has taken place in Michigan.   

Bridge, the online news service of the Center for Michigan reported two years ago that there were 30,000 children in the state eligible for high-quality preschool who were not in classrooms. Senior Writer Ron French revisited the issue to see that difference the additional funding from the state has made. 

More than 21,000 additional children have enrolled in preschool through the state's Great Start Readiness Program. French says one of the largest increases has been in Kalamazoo County, where there has been a 74% increase, there has been a 33% jump in Van Buren County and a 19% increase in Calhoun County. But French says those numbers don't tell the whole story, because many students have also been able to go for full-day preschool, instead of just half a day. 

The Bridge reporting on preschool also focuses in part on Vicksburg. French says Vicksburg is serving more students and many students are able to go for a full day of school, rather than a half day. French says Vicksburg, like many other districts, has found that the demand is greater than anticipated. He says providing transportation services has helped families take part in the program. French says Vicksburg is already getting calls from families about enrolling their children for next school year. 

French says high quality preschool has broad support among political and business leaders. He says they see it as an investment in the states. French says preschool is viewed as a way to make sure that there is a quality workforce to fill jobs in Michigan. 

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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