By League of Education Voters Policy Team

We believe students come first. We are focused first and foremost on meeting the needs of every student.

We are dedicated to designing an equitable education system that serves all students based on their strengths, supports their needs, and provides the resources they need to be successful.

We are committed to working to close gaps experienced by historically and systemically underserved students— including students of color, students in poverty, students qualifying for special education services, students learning English, and students impacted by trauma. We believe this will lead to all students experiencing greater success and reaching their full potential.


Preschool students - League of Education VotersWhen Washington state five-year-olds arrive in kindergarten each year, they are beginning an educational journey on which some of them are already behind their classmates. Our state has a 30-point kindergarten readiness gap – only 31% of kindergarteners from low income families are fully school ready, compared to 60% of their non-low income peers (1).

To achieve readiness for all Washington children, some kids need more support, earlier. Washington has initiated a high-impact, research-proven early childhood education intervention program: the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) (2).

ECEAP, our state’s pre-kindergarten program for low income families, provides comprehensive education, health, and family support services to our most at-risk preschoolers. ECEAP is not only a good investment –it returns $5.74 of benefits for each dollar we invest now (3) – it catalyzes learning at one of the greatest time periods of brain growth and plasticity (4). In fact, at the end of one year of ECEAP, 55% of ECEAP four-year-olds – all of them children of low-income parents – are fully kindergarten ready. At the end of two years of ECEAP, 67% of four-year-olds are fully kindergarten ready (5). In other words, a dosage of two years of ECEAP more than doubles the kindergarten readiness rates for children from low income families, from 31% to 67%, and eliminates the 30-point income-based kindergarten readiness gap.

Meeting our ECEAP entitlement goal for 2019 will allow 3,600 more kids to get the support and intervention they need to be kindergarten ready. But it also means they will be more likely to meet their third grade reading goal, more likely to persist to high school graduation, less likely to be referred into special education services, and more likely to enroll and persist into postsecondary education.6 Our investment today means a lifetime of difference for our children and our communities.


1. OSPI, Kindergarten Preparedness Analytics
2. Bania, N., Kay, N., Aos, S., & Pennucci, A. (2014). Outcome evaluation of Washington State’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, (Document No. 14-12-2201). Olympia: Washington State Institute for Public Policy.
3. Washington State Institute for Public Policy State and district early childhood education programs Pre-K to 12 Education Benefit-Cost Analysis
4. Stiles J & Jernigan TL, The basics of brain development. Neuropsychology Review 2010; 20(4):327-48.
5. Department of Early Learning, 2016-17 ECEAP Outcomes Report (2018).
6. DeFeyter & Winsler, “The early developmental competencies and school readiness of low-income, immigrant children: Influences of generation, race/ethnicity, and national origins,” Early Childhood Research Quarterly (2009): 24: 411-31. Barnett & Lamy, “The effects of state pre-kindergarten programs on young children’s school readiness in five states,” The National Institute for Early Education Research (2006). Fantuzzo, Rouse, et al., “Early childhood experiences and kindergarten success: A population-based study of a large urban setting,” School Psychology Review, 34 (4): 571-88. Karoly, Kilburn & Cannon (2005). Broberg, Wessels, Lamb, & Hwang, “Effects of day care on the development of cognitive abilities in 8-year olds: A longitudinal study,” Developmental Psychology, 33(1): 62-9. Gilliam & Zigler, “A critical meta-analysis of all evaluations of state-funded preschool from 1977 to 1998: Implications for policy, service delivery and program evaluation,” Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 15(4): 441-73. Karoly, Kilburn, & Cannon, “Early childhood interventions: proven results, future promises,” RAND Corporation (2005). Barnett, “Long-term effects of early childhood programs on cognitive and school outcomes,” The Future of Children 5(3): 25-50.


2019 Legislative Priority Issue Brief: Early Childhood Education – Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (PDF)

Read How ECEAP Changed My Life, a guest blog by 14-year-old student Lauryn Terry

Read our 2019 Legislative Priority Issue Brief: Early Childhood Education (overview)

Read our 2019 Legislative Priorities


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