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Kati Haycock touts importance of quality early childhood education for Michigan’s economy at Mackinac Policy Conference

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation hosted a conversation on quality early education for a thriving Michigan economy at the Detroit Regional Chamber's 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference.


  1. More than 125 policymakers, business leaders, entrepreneurs and foundation and nonprofit executives heard from Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, at the Detroit Regional Chamber's 2014 Mackinac Policy Conference. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation hosted the session on the importance of quality early childhood education for a thriving Michigan economy.

    Haycock pointed to quality preschool programs as a key strategy in improving Michigan's education outcomes for all children, particularly for low-income students and students of color. 

    "Not only do we have to invest in early childhood, but we have to invest in quality," Haycock said. "The more kids we have in quality early childhood programs, the better the long-term outcomes."

    Haycock shared stark data on Michigan's low performing and low improving education outcomes. Looking at 10 years of growth in reading scores by state (2003 - 2013), Michigan ranks fourth to last. In National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) state rankings, Michigan 4th grade reading has fallen from 28th in 2003 to 38th in 2013, and in 4th grade math from 27th in 2003 to 42nd in 2013.
  2. Haycock laid out four strategies for improvement:

    1. Don't accept the excuses
    "All too often, we hear excuses - how kids are from poor families, parents are engaged, low reading at home. Blaming the kids and parents isn't acceptable. There are examples of schools that effectively education low-income students and students from challenging backgrounds. It can be done," Haycock said.
    2. Continue the push around early childhood investments, especially for low-income children
    3. Support Common Core State Standards
    4. Help keep the momentum of teacher effectiveness movement
    5. Mind the gaps in opportunity and achievement
    "We disproportionately assign students of color to our least experienced, least well-educated and least effective teachers. Those practices are not good for kids. They are not good for our country. And they are not good for business," Haycock said.

  3. In closing, Haycock encouraged Michigan policymakers, advocates, citizens and parents to stay on the right track with the state's increased focus on and funding for early childhood programs and its developing teacher evaluation system. 

    "It's important to stay the course and follow through," Haycock said. A long-term commitment to quality implementation is an effective approach Haycock noted as helping fast-improving states see progress.

    Lastly, Haycock encouraged the crowd to be annoying.

    "It's not okay for Michigan to be slipping backward, especially when other states are advancing. Say it's not okay - not just for your children, but for all of Michigan's children. That will deliver lasting change."

    To see Haycock's presentation, find it here on the Ed Trust-Midwest website.