Gregoire’s Last Budget Puts Kids First
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 18, 2012
In her budget released today, Governor Gregoire recognized the critical part that quality early learning plays in getting the outcomes we need in our K-12 system. She called for a $50 million expansion of ECEAP, reaching more than 5000 new at-risk children with the kind of services they need to ensure they arrive at kindergarten ‘school-ready’.
Joel Ryan, Executive Director, Washington State Association of Head Start and ECEAP:
“We applaud the Governor for committing to the kind of investment that we know results in better outcomes for children – more successful students, healthier children, and higher graduation rates. High quality early learning programs, in study after study, have been shown to be the single most cost-effective way to close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for children in K-12 and beyond, and ECEAP is one of the best state pre-k programs in the country. Last fall, for example, only 43% of the incoming ECEAP class were assessed at or above their expected age level on language and literacy. After 9 months of ECEAP, 95% of those kids had met those goals and were ready to succeed in kindergarten. Simply put – high quality early learning makes it possible for at risk children to catch up and succeed alongside their middle class peers. Just funding K-12 classrooms by itself will not buy the kind of results taxpayers expect and children need, and we’re thrilled that the Governor agrees. “