Inadequate preschooling is causing Michigan students to fall behind early, making it harder to develop the talented workforce needed for the state to be competitive, business leaders said Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. A coalition of companies and organizations urged government policymakers to erase a shortage of preschooling for underprivileged children, saying about one-third of the state’s pupils leave kindergarten ill-prepared to begin first grade. Roughly 70 percent of Michigan’s fourth-grade students are not proficient readers, meaning those deprived of early education are not catching up, the Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan said. Michigan has room for only about half of 4-year-olds eligible for publicly funded preschool. About 38,000 are left out each year, said Debbie Dingell, a leader of the council.

“It’s unacceptable in this state. We can’t allow that to happen,” Dingell said during a news conference at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference on Mackinac Island…

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staff and wire services reports