WXYZ Detroit - Shameful, embarrassing and unacceptable! That's Channel 7's reaction to the Detroit Public Schools letting $4 million of federal Head Start money slip through their fingers! DPS officials blamed the missed deadline on a "technical" glitch in their attempt to upload the information. Unbelievable!
Is this the high-powered emergency management team now in charge of educating a district where 82 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunches? DPS can't afford to let a single penny from Washington go unspent for the education of our kids.
Now, that said, DPS leadership seems to be working hard - or scrambling - to minimize their federal funding loss to nearly 1,000 4-year olds in 56 classrooms. With the help of a savvy public relations team, and some well-run community based agencies, DPS plans to expand its early childhood programs through the state-funded Great Start Readiness initiative.
To his credit, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has made preschool funding a priority. Last year, the state budgeted $65 million - the highest increase in the U.S. On top of that, the federal government has selected Detroit as one of five cities nationwide to participate in a well-funded 5 year pilot program called 'Birth to Five' that begins this fall.
At best, DPS will break even on the number of early childhood students it will serve this coming school year. At worst, a future generation of doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers and skilled trade workers will fall through the cracks because they didn't get a good head start in school. Governor Snyder must hold his emergency appointed DPS management team accountable for the mismanaged federally-funded Head Start snafu!
I'm Mike Murri, Station Manager
Broadcast: June 19 - 22, 2014