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Whitmer touts free pre-K education plan during elementary school visit

“Pessimism is pointless,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) as she prepared to sign the legislation to enact Michigan’s new climate law. Critics say it seizes power from local governments to regulate solar farms and wind turbines.
Rick Pluta
Michigan Public Radio Network
In this file photo from Nov. 29, 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer made remarks at a press conference in Detroit ahead of signing legislation to enact Michigan’s new climate law.

A Burton Elementary School preschool classroom in Grand Rapids was the backdrop for Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s visit Monday to promote universal pre-K education for every 4-year-old in Michigan.

“Doing this sets every child up for success," Whitmer said. "It also helps parents save about $10,000 in childcare costs per student and, most critically, it really is about giving our student a solid academic foundation.”

The governor toured the preschool with lawmakers and educators including Grand Rapids Superintendent Leadriane Roby, who emphasized universal pre-K is about equity and access.

"This is an equitable moment to make sure all of our children have access to a viable, rigorous, relevant education and that’s what this work is all about,” Roby said.

The governor spoke on the advantages of early learning.

“Kids who go to pre-k arrive at kindergarten ready to learn, better prepared to read and do math. They go on to earn higher test scores, are more likely to graduate, and go on to land good-paying jobs,” Whitmer said.

Whitmer promised more details on funding the initiative in her proposed state budget coming out Wednesday.