In this edition, you’ll read about a research initiative launched today by the University of Washington to study how our youngest children learn. Thrive by Five Washington, the state's public-private partnership for early learning, is a partner in the effort which will make the case for investing in early learning. You’ll also find articles about how federal Child Nutrition Reauthorization can help end childhood hunger, funding for home visiting programs, and Arizona taking steps to restore children’s health coverage.
The University of Washington Institute for Learning & Brain
Sciences (I-LABS) kicked off a multi-million dollar effort today to
unlock how children learn. To help get research into the hands of child
care providers, parents, policymakers and business and community leaders
around the state to improve learning in the first years of life, I-LABS
is partnering with Thrive by Five Washington, the state’s
public-private partnership for early learning. Not only will the
initiative help students learn, Thrive and researchers hope it will
convince more of the public that it’s critical to invest in effective
early learning efforts.
Hunger impairs children’s emotional, intellectual, and physical
development, and poorly nourished children end up costing our nation
billions a year in health care costs and other public services. The
issue only grew worse during the Great Recession. But the problem is
solvable if we make the right investments in the upcoming child
nutrition bill, reform child nutrition programs, and take steps to
Arizona’s decision to eliminate their Children’s Health
Insurance Program (CHIP) is being reversed under federal health reform’s
requirement that states must maintain their CHIP programs. Restoring
health insurance saves Arizona $7 billion in federal Medicaid money and
prevents nearly 34,000 children from losing coverage. A proposed budget
cut in early 2010 threatened to drop 16,000 kids from Washington state’s
Apple Health for Kids plan. The Children’s Alliance urged lawmakers to
fully protect the program, which has been a lifeline for many low-income
families. The final budget did preserve Apple Health eligibility and
benefits, but slashed funding for outreach efforts that have proved
vital to getting more uninsured kids covered.
new health reform law established a number of important prevention
initiatives, including the Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. Early
childhood home visiting programs provide voluntary, in-home services to
families with young children beginning prenatally and going up to
kindergarten entry age.
The U.S. economy still may be weak, but the nation’s governors
want to preserve funding for pre-kindergarten next year, proposing
roughly the same spending as this year, $5.3 billion, Pre-K Now reports.
Washington state lawmakers finished their
work last month, preserving spending on child care subsidies and making a
relatively small cut in the state preschool program, the Early
Childhood Education and Assistance Program. Overall, early learning
enjoyed a decent budget season, considering the state of the economy.
Should the wealthiest Washington residents pay an income tax to
fund education and health care improvements in the state? There are two
opposing sides to the idea, and both sides submitted recent opinion
pieces to the Puget Sound Business Journal.