Speaking for Kids Podcast

Speaking for Kids, the Podcast from Michigan’s Children

Each month Michigan’s Children records a new podcast featuring a crucial conversation with people impacted by or making public policy decisions affecting Michigan’s children, youth, and families. Join host Matt Gillard, Michigan’s Children’s president & CEO, as we explore current issues discussed in Lansing and Washington, D.C.

Besides here, access episodes of Speaking for Kids, the Podcast on these hosting sites – Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and YouTube. We also welcome your suggestions for future topics and speakers. Contact Program Director, Teri Banas at teri@michiganschildren.org, or Outreach Associate, Stephen Wallace at stephen@michiganschildren.org.  Scroll down to find archived past episodes.

Why this School Chief Embraces Community-Based Providers in Pre-K for All
May 28, 2024

Michigan’s Children Speaking for Kids podcast host Matt Gillard welcomes Schools Superintendent John M. Searles, head of the Midland County Educational Service Agency, to discuss expansion of Pre-K for All. In a wide-ranging conversation, they discuss the expansion in light of a contentious House budget plan that would negatively impact funding to community-based child care providers in favor of those operated by intermediate school districts. Listen into this timely conversation around developing state budget plans for universal Pre-K.


The New Movement for Equity in School Funding
April 3, 2024

Michigan’s Children’s Matt Gillard talks with Jeff Cobb, Director of Government Affairs at Education Trust-Midwest, about the pressing need for equity in education funding.  Gillard and Cobb advocate for increased investment in education, stressing the long-term benefits and cost savings associated with improving educational outcomes. They draw parallels between Michigan and Massachusetts’ academic success, emphasizing the need for strategic investments to narrow the gap. Despite recent progress, they call for continued efforts to fully fund the Opportunity Index and double funding for English learners, setting Michigan on a path toward greater opportunity and prosperity for all.


Making ‘PreK for All’ Work for All
February 29, 2024

Michigan’s Children’s Matt Gillard sits down with Jeff Capizzano, President of the Policy Equity Group, to talk frankly about Governor Whitmer’s “PreK for All” plan now that expanding free 4-year-old preschool is moving closer to becoming a reality with major state funding outlined in Whitmer’s proposed FY2025 budget recommendations. They discuss the plan’s “roadmap” for quickly expanding the state-funded preschool program at no cost to families, regardless of household income, while guarding against negatively impacting enrollment counts of private-pay, community-based child care providers.

Capizzano, whose Washington, D.C. firm was hired by the Governor’s office to work on an implementation plan, said the final recommendations represent a comprehensive strategy to better compensate early childhood educators, support the varied needs of families, and maintain viable child care businesses. He warned against “cherry picking” certain recommendations over others.


Debriefing the Governor’s State of the State Address
January 25, 2024

To debrief Governor Whitmer’s 2024 State of the State address, Michigan’s Children’s Speaking for Kids Podcast Host Matt Gillard welcomes back two veteran Lansing lobbyist who have spent their careers working on children’s issues in Michigan. Specifically, they look at what she plans to champion on behalf of kids & families in the second year of her second term in office. Listen in and learn how you can raise your voices for the issues you care about. Returning guests are Andrea M. Cascarilla, Government Policy Advisor, Dykema; and Matt Kurta, Partner, Karoub Associates.


Click on the Imagies to access each Speaking for Kids Podcast


Speaking for Kids Podcast Series 2023/2022/2021

December 14, 2023

November 7, 2023

September 26, 2023

July 17, 2023

May 23, 2023

March 24, 2023

February 28, 2023

January 30, 2023

November 18, 2022

August 29, 2022

July 27, 2022

May 26, 2022

April 11, 2022

March 13, 2022

April 11, 2022

December 6, 2021

December 3, 2021

September 28, 2021

August 30, 2021

July 23, 2021

June 30, 2021

May 12, 2021

April 14, 2021