Washington voters have spoken, and more than 70 percent of you support providing a preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds living in poverty.
This is according to a poll of 600 Washington registered voters conducted for the advocacy group Stand for Children in Washington. The poll (which is not available online) focused on education reform and funding, and the high support for preschool supports one of the Children’s Alliance’s priorities for the Legislative Session: getting voluntary preschool for students living in poverty included in the state’s definition of Basic Education.
Why is this important? The state definition of basic education, which hasn’t been updated since 1978, says which education funding is mandatory. A central purpose of public education is to ensure that all children—no matter their families’ economic status—have an equal opportunity to succeed in school and life. This starts with making sure that all students enter kindergarten ready to succeed. Today, too many students start kindergarten behind their peers, and many are never able to catch up.
With more than 2,600 Washington kids on the waiting list for the state’s Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP), it’s time to make sure this essential element of educational success has a place on the list of programs essential to making the K-12 system work well for everyone.
- Ruth Schubert