The million dollar question for any early education advocate. Last week Seattle CityClub held a panel discussion with Rep. Skip Priest and Valisa Smith of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to better understand how the state has financed early education. If you missed it, luck you, you can watch it on tvw.org right now (it will also run tonight on the station at 10 p.m.).
“Resources are a tough issue. I think one thing we have to do is do a better job of articulating the net cost (of early learning programs)… I would argue that if we did an effective job of the early learning, then in fact the net cost would be significantly less,” Priest said — referring to English Language Learner programs, remediation, dropout prevention and other costly programs that he thinks the state would rely on less if more money was directed to early learning.
Dr. Bette Hyde has been on the job as director of the Department of Early Learning (DEL) for a short time – but she has been busy. She has crisscrossed the state, meeting with children, parents, and early educators to increase DEL’s understanding of the real issues facing families today. Last week Dr. Hyde visited Denise Louie Education Center (DLEC) in Beacon Hill. Many of you may know that I’m a proud DLEC board member and volunteer.
Dr. Hyde spent two hours touring the center, meeting the children and teachers, and discussing the opportunities and challenges moving forward in Washington State. In addition to representatives from DLEC, representatives from the Children’s Home Society and Neighborhood House (including a home visitor) also attended. We were grateful for the opportunity to meet with Dr. Hyde and show her what we’re doing to change lives and create opportunity. While there are many challenges to this goal, including the biggest recession since the depression, it is clear that DEL’s new director is deeply engaged and wants to partner with us to create the change children need.