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Snyder emphasizes importance of early childhood development to success in school

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Contact: Sara Wurfel
Office: 517-335-6397

LANSING, Mich. - Recognizing the importance early childhood development plays in a child's ability to succeed, Gov. Rick Snyder today signed an executive order creating the Michigan Office of Great Start, which will consolidate the state's early childhood programs and resources into a single office within the Department of Education.  The office will coordinate the 84 separate funding sources for early childhood programs that are currently spread out across various state agencies. 

"Success in school and life starts well before a child's first day in the classroom, but the fragmented approach we have now makes it difficult to ensure needs are being met," Snyder said.  "Coordinating these worthwhile programs through one office will help make sure children are best served and developmentally on track."

The Office of Child Development and Care, which is currently housed in the Department of Human Services, will be combined with the Department of Education's Office of Early Childhood Education and Family Services.  The Head Start Collaboration Office, also housed in DHS, will also move to the new Office of Great Start.

In addition to helping ensure children are developmentally on track, the new office will reduce duplication and administrative overhead costs.

The governor first announced this key initiative as a part of his plan to reinvent Michigan's educational system.  The new office will refocus the state's early childhood investment strategy by adopting a single set of measureable outcomes, including making sure children are born healthy, that they are developmentally on track from birth to third grade, that children are ready to succeed in school at the time of entry and they are reading proficiently by the end of the third grade.

"If there is one thing we can do to set the foundation for success in school and life, focusing on early childhood development is it," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Mike Flanagan said.

The full text of E.O. 2011- 8 is available online at