LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan’s top education official says they are celebrating over the good news that the state has been awarded millions of dollars in federal funds for early learning education.

State Superintendent Mike Flanaghan says he and others in the Department of Education were ecstatic over Michigan winning $51.7-million from the federal government’s Race to the Top program. He says they worked hard on the application and now about 180,000 children, ages 3 to kindergarten from low-income families, will benefit.

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“This is really going to be access for young kids – particularly, as I said, that are needy – to high-quality learning programs. That’s the key. It’s going to help us get the subsidized home care providers better quality,” says Flanaghan.

Flanaghan says Michigan’s application was rated the highest. This is major for the Michigan Department of Education because in years past Michigan never even made the cut.

“We’re just still, you know, celebrating up here, we’re dancing actually, that we have it,” says Flanaghan.

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He adds, “This is really gonna’ be at the ground level. This is going to be right in neighborhoods and in community areas that are most needy. And it was a thoughtful application put together for that.”

Governor Rick Snyder says this will also allow the state to have a good learning measurement system, and…

“The second thing it will really do is really allow us to focus in on the most at-risk kids,” says Snyder.

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Michigan was one of six states to win the funding that will improve early learning programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers.