Release – WSA Supports Federal Pre-K Initiative
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013
(Reporters who would like to interview current and former Head Start and ECEAP families in Washington State should contact Joel Ryan or Katy Warren.)
WA State Head Start and ECEAP Programs Applaud Historic Plan to Expand Preschool
Sen. Patty Murray Leads Charge to Improve Early Education
Today, leaders in Congress proposed a broad new plan that would provide high-quality pre-kindergarten to families around the nation and build on the work and promise of Head Start.
In the Senate and House, legislators unveiled bills that would create a new federal-state partnership that would expand preschool to all low-income families, while also improving quality. In addition to improving access, the measures would make pre-k more affordable for moderate-income families and invest in child care, including competitive grants to Early Head Start.
Washington’s high quality early childhood system is one of the many reasons why the state is well positioned to take advantage of the proposed preschool expansion. Washington already has many of the policies and programs that would be required for participation in the federal-state partnership, including a well-regarded state preschool program, evidence-based early learning standards, a kindergarten transition and assessment program (WaKIDS), and investments in early education data.
“Today is a historic day. The legislation co-sponsored by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will give all of our kids a chance to succeed in school and in later life. We know that if taxpayers invest $1 in high quality early education they will see a return on their investment of up to $7 due to a decrease in special education and remedial services, higher graduation rates, and a reduction in incarceration. I am very pleased that the bill was built off of the Head Start and ECEAP models by not only focusing on the important academic work in the classroom, but also ensuring that children receive nutritious meals, health screenings, and that parents are honored as co-equals in their child’s education. ” said Joel Ryan, executive director of the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP.
Washington Sen. Patty Murray was an architect of the proposal and has led the charge for better early education during her 21 years in the Senate. We look forward to working with Sen. Murray and other early learning champions to ensure the birth-to-kindergarten system provides the accessible and intensive comprehensive services that our most vulnerable children and families need.
Now, it is time for Congress to move on these bills and create accessible and high-quality preschools around the country. It would be good for families and the future.