Kylee Allen of Oak Harbor knows how effective advocacy can create better opportunities for kids. Her eldest daughter Delaney, now 10, is a living testament to how Head Start can set a strong foundation for success in K-12.
"Delaney, who had a severe speech delay, found the confidence she needed to speak up for herself,” says Kylee. “All my children are ‘A’ students and avid readers. These are skills that we learned together while at Head Start.”
Kylee attended Advocacy Camp in 2010, where she had the opportunity to build her skills and strengthen her connections to better speak up for all kids in Washington state. She learned how to get her voice heard in the media, share her values effectively with others, and better navigate the Washington State Legislature, she says.
A Thurston County business leader expands on the future economic benefits of early learning investments, and a new state budget analysis finds that extending the two-thirds majority vote in the State Legislature would harm kids while hindering economic recovery. While high school graduation rates in the state have improved overall, students of color experience disproportionately higher dropout rates. This fall, federal nutrition guidelines will fortify school meals in King County. And a distinguished community leader and former school board member of Seattle schools comes out for kids as marriage equality in Washington hinges on the vote to approve Referendum 74.
Members of Congress are home for the summer, meeting with constituents, learning more about issues in their districts and preparing for the November election. They get back to D.C. in early September, just a few days after Washington’s school kids head to the classroom.
Then, Congress will resume the debate about our national priorities – a debate that very directly concerns every Washington child who’s entering a classroom for the first time.
The first five years of life have a deep and durable influence on the rest – they’re the time when the fundamental architecture of the mind is built. Our public resources for the very young– from Early Head Start to Head Start to child care funds – affect children’s ability to spend their early years in enriching environments that serve them well in school and in life.
A wealth of data shows that these programs close the opportunity gap. Parents have seen that they work. Many lawmakers know that without them, we’ll neither lower spending nor create broadly shared prosperity. And yet they’re under threat.
The race is on for the future of Washington’s kids.
This month’s primary election has carved out the top two candidates for public office in districts across the state. Those who win will make policy decisions that affect your life, the life of a child you care about, and the lives of 1.5 million kids in Washington.
Now’s the time to tell candidates what’s at stake for kids. The Children’s Alliance has sent educational materials to every legislative candidate in the state to inform them about child hunger, covering all kids, improving access to dental care and early learning. Now we need your help.
High-quality early learning can be a standard across the state with continued support, thanks to Washington’s Early Achievers rating system. The Health Care Authority’s planned partnership with community service providers means Apple Health for Kids can cover more uninsured children. In Walla Walla last week, Children’s Alliance presented Rep. Maureen Walsh with a Crayon Award for her commitment to early learning. Recently, we also named Rep. Luis Moscoso a legislative Champion for Children along with 11 other state lawmakers for their work to protect kids. In national news, advocates declare "No Child is Illegal," and celebrate a new law that allows young immigrants temporary protection from deportation.