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Making the case for early childhood education

"There is a big push to get kids 'kindergarten ready,' with an emphasis on the importance of preschool.

'But some experts say waiting until preschool is too late.

'Researcher Craig T. Ramey has spent his entire academic life studying programs that impact vulnerable children, and he says 'far and away early childhood education is the most powerful instrument we have to prepare people to lead productive lives.' And by 'early' he means starting at birth."

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Death To Education Reform

"Everyone loves education reform. President Obama loves it. Governor Romney loves it.

'The problem is that education reform as we currently understand it is, well, terrible.

'The debate is basically structured around how to structure teacher incentives so that they will get better results. Ten years ago, this was about linking pay to test scores, it was the era of No Child Left Behind, now remembered as insidious right-wing skullduggery even though the law was co-sponsored by Ted Kennedy. Now it appears that if you pay teachers to teach to the test they will do that, and further that this is too crude a metric because pupil progress is also affected by his environment, and how do you even define 'results', and so on. So now we’re talking about how to build a better model to get teachers to do their work better."

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Bright spots on the educational landscape

Michael Khoury, President of Detroit Cristo Rey High School, discusses the state of education in the city of Detroit and the role schools like Detroit Cristo Rey will play in the city's academic future.

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Let's Connect! WCHAP

Throughout the nation, Michigan, and particularly in Detroit, Medicaid-enrolled children consistently have poorer health outcomes than children with private insurance. Families and service providers encounter a frustrating, fragmented system of multiple programs and barriers that impede access to health and mental health services for children. Quality, coordinated, preventative care through a medical home has shown to improve health outcomes and lower healthcare costs by reducing emergency room usage and unnecessary hospitalizations. The Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program (WCHAP) is part of this national movement to improve the quality of healthcare by assuring that all children have a family centered medical home.

The Children’s Healthcare Access Program (CHAP) is a children’s medical home implementation model that targets Medicaid-enrolled children to advance healthcare quality and coordinate services among health providers, health plans and multiple community partners. WCHAP is an independent, physician- led, pilot program that was recently awarded a three-year $1.5 million grant from The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) in Battle Creek, Mich. With initial funding from the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich., the WCHAP pilot began in February 2011 as a public–private collaborative and is currently comprised of seven pediatric practices – including Michigan’s largest hospital for children and the largest Federally Qualified Health Clinic – as well as three Medicaid health plans, and multiple local and state community partners.

“We are deeply appreciative of the Kellogg Foundation’s investment in our vision and work to strengthen partnerships between families, health, mental health education and social services in order to improve the health and well-being of our children.” said Jametta Lilly, CEO of WCHAP. “WCHAP uniquely works as a change agent by empowering families, supporting quality improvement and innovation with pediatric practices and advancing systems change with multiple partners to help resolve fragmentation and inefficiencies.”

Medical home models, like CHAP, are an approach that transforms primary care practices to be more accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family-centered, coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. WCHAP is the second CHAP model being implemented in the state. WCHAP builds on the successes of the CHAP in Kent County, Mich., which has demonstrated significant reductions in emergency room use and unnecessary hospitalizations while reducing healthcare costs. Kent and Wayne CHAP are leaders in the Michigan CHAP (MI-CHAP) collaborative, which includes eight additional communities interested in dramatically improving the health of vulnerable children throughout Michigan.

With WKKF support, WCHAP will expand its services to an additional 4,000 Detroit children from birth through age 21 and will engage additional pediatric practices to impact some 40,000 children. The WKKF investment will also strengthen WCHAP’s efforts in its specialty areas, several which address top health disparities among children in Detroit, including:
  • Expanding its asthma case management team;
  • Implementing Fit Kids 360, an evidence-based obesity reduction model;
  • Strengthening coordination and transitions between maternal and child health providers to improve
    birth and infant health outcomes;
  • Increasing coordination and integration between physical and behavioral/mental health; and
  • Bolstering the Innovation and Incentives Program to assist pediatric practices in meeting medical
    home standards.
“The Kellogg Foundation believes that every child in Detroit should receive high quality health care,” said Linda Jo Doctor, program officer for WKKF. “The advancement of family centered medical homes is a key strategy to achieve this because we know that medical homes help reduce health inequities and promote child and family well-being.”
Please contact WCHAP to hear family and pediatric voices engaged in advancing family centered medical home to improve child health and wellness in Detroit and Wayne County.

About the Wayne Children’s Healthcare Access Program (WCHAP)
WCHAP is an independent, physician led, public-private community health collaborative. The Children’s Healthcare Access Program, CHAP, is a proven medical home implementation model built on the successes of Kent CHAP in Grand Rapids, Mich; and is specifically tailored to improve health outcomes for vulnerable children and families enrolled in Medicaid. CHAP helps transform pediatric primary care practices to become more accessible, continuous, comprehensive, family centered,
coordinated, compassionate, and culturally effective. WCHAP works to improve quality, access and child health outcomes; strengthen provider, family and community partnerships; and reduce costs and advance systems change. For more information, visit www.wchap.org and the America Academy of Pediatrics at www.aap.org.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.

The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org. 

A Right to Read

The ACLU of Michigan has filed a "right to read" lawsuit on behalf of the over 970 students in the Hazel Park school district, a district in which 90 percent of the students, by eleventh grade, are not reading proficient and 100 percent are failing science and social studies. Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, explains the lawsuit.

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Cooking and the Community: It Matters

Detroit area food bloggers participate in the Gleaners Community Food Bank class "Cooking Matters" and learn more about the program and its importance within the community.

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Lou Glazer: Smart, young workers are vital

"We all want a high prosperity Michigan. A place, once again, with a broad middle class. It was a status we enjoyed for most of the 20th century, but now have lost.

'How to get there? Gov. Rick Snyder in his Special Message to the Legislature on Talent provided the answer: 'In the 20th century, the most valuable assets to job creators were financial and material capital. In a changing global economy, that is no longer the case. Today, talent has surpassed other resources as the driver of economic growth'..."

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Welcoming the newest class of Michigan Teaching Fellows to high-needs schools

A fighter pilot, a pastor, a sea kayak instructor and many other extraordinary individuals are among the 2012 cohort of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship announced at the Michigan State Capitol.

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Businesses right to invest in early ed

This year at the Annual Mackinac Policy Conference held every May, one of the sessions highlighted the case for businesses investing in early education. Business leaders throughout the state are taking an interest in this because they know that their future also suffers if children enter school unprepared and struggle for the rest of their academic career. As it stands, one in three children in Michigan enters kindergarten unprepared. 

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Americans overwhelmingly support doubling food stamp value at farmers markets

Three-quarters of Americans support a nationwide program to double the value of SNAP benefits (formerly food stamps) when used at farmers markets, according to a recent survey commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The poll finds strong support for making produce affordable and accessible to all Americans and that officials at all levels—national, state and local—have a role to play in ensuring that access.

“Americans want produce that is healthy, affordable, green and fair,” said Dr. Gail Christopher, vice president – program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. “We see strong support here for food that is good not only for the people eating it, but also for the people producing it.”

The survey was released today at the foundation’s Food & Community Conference, a gathering of more than 600 active participants in the good food movement, including farmers, school food workers, academics, urban agriculture pioneers, filmmakers, health activists, writers and more.

In the poll, 68 percent of those surveyed said it was “very important” that all Americans have equal access to fresh fruits and vegetables; an additional 25 percent said it is “somewhat important.”

Michigan’s Double Up Food Bucks has worked successfully to increase access to fresh produce among low-income families by doubling the value of SNAP benefits at farmers markets. Seventy-five percent of poll participants said they support a similar program at the national level as a way to help American produce farmers and low-income families.

Strong support for farmworkers and local growers
Respondents also showed support for those harvesting their produce. Asked if they would be willing to pay $1.50 more for produce each month to ensure fair wages are paid to those picking fruits and vegetables, 88 percent strongly or partly agreed. A study by the Economic Policy Institute said such a raise would increase the pay of a farm worker making $10,000 a year to $14,000, which would be above the poverty line.

Americans also stand behind their local growers. More than 80 percent strongly or partly agreed that Washington, D.C. should shift its support toward smaller, local fruit and vegetable farmers and away from large farm businesses. Nearly 90 percent strongly or partly agreed they would pay more for produce if that money stayed in the community.

Officials have a role in ensuring access to fresh produce
Those surveyed said national, state and local officials, as well as community members, have a role to play in ensuring that people have access to local, fresh produce:
  • *81 percent strongly or partly agree that Washington, DC, needs to do more to increase access to locally produced fruits and vegetables.
  • *86 percent strongly or partly agree that state and local officials should play a role in ensuring access to local, fresh food.
  • *89 percent strongly or partly agree that the community needs to play a role in ensuring access to local, fresh food.
Moreover, people are putting both money and time into supporting local, fresh produce. Seventy percent reported shopping at farmers markets in the past year, while 45 percent said they’d gotten food from their own garden or farm. Sixty-eight percent said they eat more fresh produce than they did five years ago.

“Americans are telling us they support a values-based food system,” Dr. Christopher said.

“They favor locally grown and produced food, community involvement, sustainability and fairness, which helps to ensure safe, healthy and affordable food for everyone.”

The survey was conducted by Lauer Johnson Research of 800 adults using mobile or landline phones from April 18–22, 2012. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

The full poll and results are available at www.foodandcommunity.org/conference. You can also follow WKKF on twitter at @wk_kellogg_fdn.

Study: If Detroit child is ready for kindergarten, Michigan saves $100,000 a year

According to Detroit's One-Child School Readiness Dividend - a study commissioned by the Max M. Marjorie S. Fisher Family Foundation and conducted by Minnesota-based Wilder Research - if each child entering kindergarten in Detroit were there ready to learn there would be an estimated savings of $100,000 per child each year ... or roughly $7.2 million each year in lifetime education, social services and criminal justice expenditures.

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Grantee Excellent Schools Detroit honored at Game Changers event

W.K. Kellogg Foundation grantee, Excellent Schools Detroit – a true champion for education -  is the 2012 recipient of Playworks Detroit’s Game Changers Inclusion Award presented on March 21, 2012 at the “Get in The Game” luncheon.

A coalition of education, government, community, parent and nonprofit leaders, Excellent Schools Detroit has developed a citywide education plan to help ensure that all Detroit children are in an excellent school by 2020. Its goal is to see 90 percent of the city's students graduating from high school, 90 percent of them going on to college or quality career training and 90 percent of them being ready to succeed at college or career training without needing remedial education.

The Playworks Detroit 2012 “Get in the Game” luncheon and “Game Changer Awards” were created to recognize individuals, companies and organizations that are making a positive impact on the well-being of Detroit.

Join us in congratulating Excellent Schools Detroit and the other award winners making a difference.

To learn more about Excellent School Detroit, visit www.excellentschoolsdetroit.org.  More information about Playworks Detroit can be found at http://www.playworks.org

USDA award recognizes success of Fair Food Network’s farmers market incentive program

In recognition of Fair Food Network’s (FFN) successful Double Up Food Bucks program at Michigan farmers markets, U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Audrey Rowe visited FFN in Ann Arbor on April 3 to present the W.K. Kellogg Foundation grantee with a USDA Certificate of Appreciation for its efforts in supporting farmers markets and ensuring access to fresh, healthy and local food.

Double Up Food Bucks is an incentive program that doubles the value of SNAP dollars (previously called food stamps) when consumers use them to buy fresh produce at Michigan farmers markets. 

“All of us at Fair Food Network are pleased and proud to receive this recognition from the USDA,” said Oran Hesterman, president and CEO, Fair Food Network. “I know that the success of the Double Up Food Bucks program in Michigan is due to the tremendous support we receive – from generous funders, farmers market managers and the farmers who actually put the program into practice. It is simply an idea whose time has come.”

Double Up Food Bucks has proven a win-win for both low-income and farming families in Michigan by increasing access to healthy food and profits for those who market it. SNAP sales at Michigan farmers markets grew from $16,000 in 2007 to $1.1 million in 2011, stimulated in large part by the impact of the Double Up Food Bucks program.  At $1.1 million, Michigan led the Midwest in SNAP sales, followed by Ohio at just over $167,000 and Wisconsin at $77,000.  
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