Last session, Senator McAuliffe submitted a set of questions to the Attorney General on the legality of including a program of early learning in the definition of Basic Education for at-risk children. After much anticipation, the AG released this opinion outlining answers to these questions.
In answering one of the larger questions put forth by Senator McAuliffe, the Attorney General's Office determined that:
"The Legislature may create a basic education program of early learning that is limited to students who are at risk of educational failure. However, article IX, section 1 of the Washington Constitution would preclude limiting such a program to students from low-income households, absent a showing that low family income is an accurate proxy for the risk of educational failure. This would include showing that other students facing the risk of educational failure are not excluded based on family income."
The opinion also answers questions relation to a program of early learning being delivered by sectarian organizations and where supervision would lie for a program of early learning if it were included in Basic Education.