Archive for March, 2010

Time's running out for pre-K in the Senate

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

Session is nearly over. It could finish with a solid step forward for early learning OR more talk without action. Right now, it could go either way. Last week, the House passed a robust bill (SSB 6759) that would pave the way for increased access to affordable preschool for kids across Washington. Now it’s up to the Senate to take action.

Thousands of kids are crossing their fingers hoping the Senate will stand up for kids and support quality early learning. We only have three days to influence the final outcome.

We need YOU to make it happen.

Take Action for Kids

Email your state senator today with this simple message:

All children deserve high-quality preschool! The final preschool bill must protect preschool funding, serve at-risk kids as soon as possible, and develop a blueprint to serve all kids down the road.

Don’t forget to tell them how quality preschool has changed your life or the lives of your children or grandchildren – and how all kids deserve to have a shot.

The final legislation must include these key elements:

1. Improve K-12 outcomes across the board and close the achievement gap by offering all eligible at-risk children with quality preschool as soon as possible;

2. Protect funding for the state’s comprehensive preschool program (the Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program); and

3. Develop a blueprint to provide quality preschool opportunities for all children in Washington State.

The House took a position last Friday and passed a bill that includes all three. Please ask your state senator to support high-quality preschool

Want more specifics on the bills?

The Senate version of SB 6759 creates an implementation group to look at how we can get from a program that serves only the most at-risk children to one that offers quality preschool opportunities to all children. The bill charges state officials and community partners to be very thoughtful and deliberate about the next steps and what we need to do to take them – and how such a program could work with the state’s overall program of basic education.

The House passed a floor amendment that improves SB 6759 by adding two key elements (from HB 2731). First, it would protect the current funding levels for the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) preschool. It also makes sure that all children who qualify for the program get served as soon as possible and it asks the Department of Early Learning to report with recommendations about what other groups of children might also need the program right away.

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