Passage of the Early Start Act is great news for parents, children, and all Washingtonians who share in the vision of every child succeeding in school and in life.
We applaud the legislative leaders for early learning in all four caucuses—Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle), Sen. Steve Litzow (R-Mercer Island), Rep. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla) and Sen. Andy Billig (D-Spokane)—and the many legislators who supported the Early Start Act. They have acted on the years of research showing that high quality early learning builds stronger families, better schools, more self-reliant adults and safer communities. Early learning is a necessary part of any strategy to close the opportunity gap facing too many of Washington’s children in low-income families and children of color.
Click here for photos of advocates and kids celebrating as Gov. Jay Inslee signs the Act.
Children's Alliance deputy director Jon Gould with early learning leaders Rep. Maureen Walsh (R-Walla Walla, left) and Rep. Ruth Kagi (D-Seattle, right) after the passage of the Early Start Act in the House of Representatives on Sunday, June 28.
Combined with a historic $158 million investment in early learning in the 2015-17 budget, passage of the Early Start Act marks a new level of commitment to early learning in Washington.
The Early Start Act will:
- Provide thousands of Washington children and families access to high quality early learning that leads to improved child outcomes;
- Provide unprecedented new training resources to early learning professionals, and prioritize resources to children in low-income families and child care providers in low-income communities;
- Provide free coaching and supports to child care providers, with flexibility in type and amount of coaching based on individual need and cultural context.
Quality care is linguistically and culturally responsive care—so all of Washington’s young children have care and learning opportunities that suit their needs. Children’s Alliance’s advocacy for the Early Start Act has been motivated by the understanding that our state’s most diverse, youngest generation needs a variety of quality early learning opportunities.
We are honored to have worked with a dedicated group of early learning advocates on the Early Start Act. We appreciate the ideas for and support of the Early Start Act from Washington’s parents, early learning providers, education community, racial equity advocates, and many others. The policy is stronger because of your engagement.
We congratulate the legislators who led the way to this historic moment and paired the Early Start Act with the largest new investment in early learning the state has ever adopted.
We thank Governor Jay Inslee for proposing this new investment in his budget at the start of the 2015 legislative session. We look forward to Governor Inslee signing the Early Start Act and implementing its many good policy changes. And we look forward to continuing our work on early learning to ensure every child has the start they need for a lifetime of success.