House and Senate Appropriations Committees, Michigan Legislature
Prepared on behalf of
Michigan Child Care Task Force
Section 641 of Michigan Public Act 135 of 1999 (the Family Independence Agency budget bill) provided $100,000 to leverage and match additional funds for the purpose of following up on the “Ready to Learn” leadership summits held in 1999 (during year one of the project) to explore the development of a child-care and early-education system that meets the needs of every child prior to kindergarten. The legislation requires that a report on the business conducted and the recommendations made during the Ready to Learn Dialogue to be submitted to the House and Senate appropriations committees in fall 2000. The text of section 641 of P.A. 135 may be found in Appendix A of this report, and this document is the preliminary report. The final report will be submitted after the remaining community forums (see Part 4 of this report) have been held.
One outcome from the second 1999 leadership summit was to change the focus of the Dialogue project from “Ready to Learn” to “Ready to Succeed” (RTS). The Michigan leaders participating in that summit recommended the change to reflect their belief that children are born ready to learn, but they need to reach school ready to succeed.
The overall outcome of the work to date of the Ready to Succeed Dialogue is that Michigan has a growing commitment to a vision of universal and high-quality early childhood education and care (ECEC), as evidenced by
- an increasing number of Michigan leaders, from many sectors, who have established early childhood education and care as a priority;
- the growing number of Michigan communities that are mobilizing to define local issues and strategies and to make early childhood a community-wide priority; and
- the enactment of new legislation that supports local efforts toward achieving universal and high-quality early education and care.
This report describes the Dialogue project’s specific accomplishments in
- examining how Michigan can develop a system that assures that every child in Michigan has a good opportunity to enter kindergarten ready to succeed;
- conducting a third summit, held on September 21–22, 2000 (see Appendix B), reconvening the leaders who attended the Ready to Learn leadership summits in year one (FY 1998–99);
- holding community forums across the state to address and stimulate community concern and activity on behalf of early childhood education and care;
- consulting with leaders in business, education, faith, health, labor, media, politics, philanthropy, and other sectors; and
- examining outstanding early childhood education and care practices implemented in and outside of Michigan and recommending key actions (see Part 3 of this report).
During this second year, the Dialogue project has benefited by substantial in-kind contributions by summit leaders and experts in early childhood education and care. Considerable funding—totaling more than $150,000—plus donated time, facilities, and staff support are making progress toward the vision possible. Supporters of the Dialogue project are the Frey Foundation, McGregor Fund, C.S. Mott Foundation, Skillman Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Office of Families and Communities Together (FACT), and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan. At this time, financial support for implementing key actions toward achieving the ECEC vision is being considered by several funders.
Note: The brochure that is referenced as being in Appendix E is not available online.
A copy of the full report is available below.