Whitmer reveals plan for state-funded free pre-K education

Every child deserves a chance at a quality education and now, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to make it easier than ever for parents to give their kids a head start. with free pre-kindergarten.

Whitmer announced a multi-million dollar plan to expand the state-funded preschool program to all eligible 4-year-olds. With an apparent cushion in the state budget and boost of federal dollars - the governor wants to spend some of that on early childhood education.

"Too many eligible kids are stuck on waitlists and unable to acess the incredible opportunity because of a lack of funding and that's not acceptable," she said.  

Since the 1980s its known as the Michigan Great Start Readiness Program or GSRP, sending financially disadvantaged 4-year-olds to school.

Today Whitmer proposed more funding to expand GSRP.  

"This is gong to cost about $152 million a year, and we can enroll approximatley 17,400 additional kids in free pre-school," she said.

And it will cost another $50 million in federal dollars in what the governor says is generally, a bi-partisan effort.   The proposal will need approval by lawmakers before any further expansion.  

"We will see improved literacy improvements by third grade, narrow acheivement gaps between low and high income students and higher high school graduation rates," she said  

By her side was Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan who's been fighting for free pre-k for Detroit's kids for three years now.  

"It will mean a lot for parents who want to go back to work, who have that 4-year-old as the last one at home, but it will mean a lot to these children," he said.