Education Nation: Preschool problems, possible solutions

Published On: Mar 22 2013 09:32:02 AM EDT

Nearly 30-thousand children are eligible for free preschool by the state, but there are no

spaces for them.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder wants to create spaces by spending $130 million more on preschool in the next two years.

"Some people say four is too old to start kindergarten, that we should start with children younger, but we know that half the achievement gap that we see at graduation is present when children enter kindergarten", says Dr. Joan Firestone, Director of Early Childhood Development for Oakland County Schools.

She's talking about the Great Start Readiness program. It is state funded and there is no cost to families who qualify because of hardship.

"These are children that we know that if we can't get them on track by kindergarten their chance of success in school, and life, just aren't as great," added Firestone

While the children learn a full spectrum of academic skills, more important are life skills that will serve them long beyond high school.

The benefits for the children are clear. What about the Moms and Dads?

"I'm a single parent of two kids so it's helped me go back to school, to work and just to function, said Katie Lambert, mother of two children in the program "They've been like a second family to us."

Currently about 32,000 4-year olds are in the Great Start for Kids program.

If the Governor Snyder's proposal goes through that number will rise to 48,000.