By League of Education Voters Policy Team
32.6 percent of low-income five-year-olds enter Washington schools fully kindergarten-ready.
In comparison, 60% of non-low income five year olds enter school kindergarten ready.
This 30-point opportunity gap – unequal access to the resources necessary for academic success – contributes over time to the assessment, graduation, and dropout rate gaps currently experienced by Washington’s low-income students.
Washington has worked diligently over the past two decades to increase early childhood education opportunities to close this gap. National and state-level research proves that quality early learning environments – like the Washington Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) – can help close the opportunity gap. Even better, it does so with a $4.75 return on every $1 invested. One study that compared test scores from 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders who attended ECEAP to those who did not found that ECEAP alumni earned significantly higher math and reading scores – as good or better than the most effective pre-K programs nationally.