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Early learning providers talk about concerns with universal preschooling

Posted at 5:41 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 17:43:57-04

ANN ARBOR (WXYZ)  — "My only concern is where are we going to find the staff?" said Waymond Hayes, director of Early Learning and Youth Development for Focus Hope, when talking about President Biden's reported plan to make preschool for 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds free.

Hayes points to a shortage of teachers and the need to increase wages to make any plan a success.

Jamie Healy, director at the Freedom Child Care Center in Ann Arbor, would like to see a way to offer benefits and a retirement plan.

But Healy said the staff shortage they're experiencing has to do with unemployment.

"The ones that I lost, they frankly told me, 'I make more money on unemployment, sitting home doing nothing,'" she told 7 Action News.

The Freedom Child Care Center is owned by St. Thomas Lutheran Church, and Healy wonders how preschooling, which would be government-funded, would affect those taxpayers who want faith-based early learning for their children.

"Are they going to tell us we can't teach from the Bible because we're taking government money?" Healy asked. "It's not fair to the parents, that are taxpayers, that want to come here.

"They said they want the Christian education for their children. What they can't do at home, we are doing for them."