Aug 23, 2010

Bernero knows importance of early childhood education

The Michigan Democratic Party and the Republican Party are holding their state nominating conventions this weekend, but a new party is holding their convention on Thursday: the newly formed Sandbox Party.

The free convention will be held at Michigan State University’s Breslin Student Events Center from 1-4 p.m. on Aug. 26. The convention is free and open to all – kids are especially encouraged to attend with their families -- and thousands of supporters from across the state are expected. There will be family entertainment, exhibitors and special appearances by popular Michigan sports, music and news personalities. Featured entertainment includes the Michigan rock band The Verve Pipe.

The convention guest speakers will be Democratic Gubernatorial nominee Virg Bernero and Republican Rick Snyder.

The Sandbox Party was just formed in June during a new conference at Lansing’s Educational Child Care Center, near a sandbox where several young children were playing. Representatives from the following organizations participated in the event: Michigan’s Children, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Michigan, Children’s Trust Fund, Michigan League for Human Services, Michigan Association for the Education of Young Children, Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health, Michigan Association of United Ways, the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health, ECIC, the Great Start Collaboratives, the Great Start Parent Coalitions, the state Department of Education, Department of Community Health and Department of Human Services.

Despite Senate Republicans all cuts budgets the last two years, 83 percent of Michigan voters in a poll last year said early childhood development and education programs are an “absolute necessity” for their community, and 75 percent want them spared from state budget cuts. Early childhood education is an investment that will pay dividends later in life for both the child and society, and that investment will save millions of tax dollars in the long run.

It’s cheaper to educate a child at an early age when they are developing than to house and feed then in a prison.

That’s something that Virg Bernero understands. In fact, his wife is an elementary school principal.

He believes that education is economic development and deserves to be a top priority in our effort to return Michigan back to greatness. Bernero also believes in investing in our young people to ensure they are prepared to succeed in a new and global economy, which amounts to a renewed effort to invest in human capital. Michigan is only as strong as its ability to train, educate and innovate. Failure is not an option.

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