pre[k]now just released a new report:Vote Count – Legislative Action on Pre-K Fiscal Year 2010.
The report recognizes the Legislature’s work in the 2009 Legislative Session to include a program of early learning for at-risk children in the new definition of basic education. They briefly describe the work of the December 1st Drafting Team, the group of government agencies and early education advocates (including LEV) to develop recommendations to Gov. Gregoire for next session, including adding voluntary, universal preschool for all four-year-olds in basic education.
Want to learn more about how Preschool for All in basic education would ensure all children are ready for school and ready for life?
- Want to tell early learning leaders that you agree with [pre]know? Go to a local town hall near you in the next two weeks.
- Click here to show how this program would serve all at-risk three-year-olds by expanding ECEAP, all four-year-olds with universal preschool, and all kindergartners with full-day kindergarten.
Cutos to Sen. Oemig and McAuliffe for their great quote and support. Here is the full text from pre[k]now’s report:
In Washington, the high-quality Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), which served 6 percent of the state’s four year olds in 2008,12 will suffer a funding cut of nearly 3 percent for FY10, reducing enrollment by about 170 children. Despite the cut, lawmakers attempted to preserve some momentum in the state by bringing pre-k into the state’s definition of basic education. Though the bill did not include funding provisions, the new language stated that early learning for at-risk children should be included in publicly funded education, just like kindergarten or first grade, and seemed to signal a real intent on the part of state legislators to provide high-quality pre-k for more children.
In a last-minute move that caught early childhood advocates and lawmakers entirely by surprise, the governor vetoed the legislation, citing a concern that the change did not define pre-k as a basic educational requirement for all children. Though the veto was disappointing, the governor did follow up by asking state education agency leaders to develop a proposal for the 2010 legislative session to ensure that all children have the benefit of early learning. Lawmakers and the governor will need to communicate and collaborate effectively to bring that plan to fruition, but should they do so, Washington could be on the path to offering pre-k for all four year olds – a smart strategy for the state’s economic future.
Washington State Senators Rosemary McAuliffe (D) and Eric Omeg (D), chair and vice chair of the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee: “Our students, educators and teachers deserve better, and we can’t give that to them without changing the way we invest in our schools… We must include early learning as a cornerstone of our school system.“