Ok. Let’s get the obvious out of the way. My Packers are not going to the Super Bowl. You might think I’d like to just avoid the topic and move on—you’re right. But what I learned about conflict and loss a long time ago is that moving on without reflection doesn’t teach you anything. So, let’s learn something—and use sports metaphors!

What Happens Early Sets the Tone: I could have named this “seven is more than three,” but it doesn’t completely work here. (And it didn’t work Sunday either. First quarter. Fourth and goal from the one. This is the opportunity to define who you are and will be. It did.) It is fourth and goal for our three- and four-year-olds. Time to call the play, and it’s a no brainer—leave the field goal unit on the sideline and go all in.

Here’s why: New data from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) highlight findings from the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (or WaKids). The data show that in literacy, kids largely start kindergarten where they should—nearly 80 percent exhibit skills like rhyming, recognition and naming of up to 10 letters, and recall of familiar stories. But they also show that gaps already exist between ethnic and economic groupings—and overall math proficiency for everyone hovers just over 50 percent. This all but makes the case for high-quality early learning being an essential part of a strong start. This week, both chambers introduced the Early Start Act, which builds an integrated system of early learning and provides incentives for a diverse group of providers to improve the quality—and close gaps. Next week, the Senate Education Committee will hear the bill Monday while the House will take it up on Wednesday.

Win all Three Phases of the Game, You Win the Game: In football, this means offense, defense, and special teams. In education, we’ve kept all three phases separate for way too long. And all the huge fuss over K–12 notwithstanding, it’s a continuum.

The Separation is in the Preparation: Russell Wilson loves to say this. He’s not wrong. Whether we’re talking about the supports we provide for homeless kids, professional learning for teachers, offering college credit in high school, or free college tuition, preparation separates. Speaking of preparation, you can preparate yourself this weekend at our Parent and Community Training at Highline College. Governor Inslee will provide remarks and Senator Bruce Dammeier will also stop in.

It Ain’t Over ’til it’s Over: For me, football is over. But for Initiative 1351, the class-size initiative, the party is just getting started. Governor Inslee wants the Legislature to amend it. But with the large price tag dangling precipitously over their heads, a growing body in the Legislature wants to change the entire initiative process to prevent such costly—unfunded—mandates in the future.

The Rest:

Well, team, that’s it for this week. Use the seven days between now and next time to leave it all on the field. Separate by preparating. Deflate a ball or two. Win one for the Gipper. Just do it. Because sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes… it rains.

Thanks for all you do on behalf of Washington’s kids. We couldn’t do it without you.

Chris and Team LEV

Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup is emailed to subscribers weekly and posted on our blog on Fridays during the 2015 legislative session. Sign up to receive Korsmo’s Weekly Roundup via email.

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