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October 17 • 03:51 AM
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Great Start initiative sets tone for future



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January 28, 2009
While she's fallen out of favor with many Michiganders who lay blame for the state's economic and unemployment woes at her doorstep, Governor Jennifer Granholm has made a great start toward the state's future with her 'Great Start' initiative.

First proposed in 2003, Granholm drew the correlation between early education and socio-economic problems for both children and the state.

Since children learn more from birth to age three than any other time in life, the Great Start initiative is a statewide effort to meet common objectives with measurable results for children from birth through age 5.

Statistics show that 11 percent of Michigan's kindergartners are held back another year, which costs the state about $100 million annually for re-education. When children learn to perform better and embrace education, they're more likely to stay in school and out of trouble with the law. Considering that it costs the state about $35,000 per prisoner per year, reducing the number of potential inmates would also mean a considerable savings for the state.

The initiative incorporates parents, children, school districts, community service organizations, volunteers and professionals with the long term goal of improving school readiness, better school performance, higher graduation rates, higher incomes and less crime.

While the Great Start initiative isn't an immediate solution to the state's economic and unemployment problems, it is a great start toward securing Michigan's future by taking measurable steps to identify and tackle issues that are contributing factors to the current situation.

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