Education Policy Initiative faculty co-director Christina Weiland has an expertise in pre-k, and recently published a paper on Transitional Kindergarten. Both topics have been in the news.
In her State of the State address, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer unveiled her plan for a universal pre-k program. Weiland reacted to the announcement, saying it could solve the staffing and pay issues the industry faces.
"Hopefully, what this will help do is ease the burden on families and also help them to access the kind of high-quality care that they want," she told the Detroit Free Press. "What these public investments can really do is address these market failures in which early educators aren’t getting the wages that they enjoy. It really takes public investment to be able to pay early educators fairly and to offer them a living wage."
Weiland talked to WWJ about her recent research about transitional kindergarten, and the impact it has on the students enrolled.
"For the most part, they're in classrooms where they're not mixed with regular kindergarten. And they are offered curricula that mostly look more like pre-k than kindergarten but target those really important early literacy, math, and socio-emotional skills," Weiland said. "And the district leaders and parents are really positive about the TK programs. They think they really get kids off on a really good start towards kindergarten, as well as the parents who take them up, they save a lot of money in costs that otherwise they may spend on sending their kid to a preschool program."
Read the report: Michigan transitional kindergarten widely available, supported by administrators and parents
Read more in the Detroit Free Press and WWJ.More news from the Ford School