The Seattle Times published a guest opinion piece by Children's Alliance Executive Director Paola Maranan and Chris Korsmo, Executive Director of the League of Education Voters. Here's an excerpt;
MILLIONS of American children were thrown a lifesaver this spring when President Obama dedicated $4 billion of federal stimulus money — including about $50 million for Washington — to shore up Head Start, Early Head Start and other programs that help low-income families find good child care and preschool options for their kids.
Keep in mind, though, that the federal stimulus is a stopgap measure, one that's set to last only two years. Our members of Congress need to get started soon on plans to fund those essential programs beyond 2011.
For years, demand has far exceeded the space in Head Start and the state-funded Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP). While almost 31,000 children from low-income families are eligible to receive services this year, current funding levels allow only about 18,000 children to participate. This leaves thousands of Washington families stuck on waiting lists, and their children are unlikely to get into these preschool programs before they're too old.