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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 22, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Gregoire vetoes early learning

Could have built upon small, positive step

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s argument for vetoing the early-learning section out of the basic-education bill was weak at best [“Gregoire signs bill overhauling education, but vetoes 2 parts,” seattletimes.com, Politics & Government, May 20].

This state’s existing early-learning program — the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP) –currently doesn’t even serve all eligible children. This legislation as passed would have implied full enrollment and at the very least could have protected ECEAP from arbitrary cuts. Rather than scrap this small yet positive step, we could simply build upon it.

I agree that early-learning services should be available to all of Washington’s children. I believe this based on the constitutional mandate of “ample provision for the education of all children.” Learning begins at birth, and this state should be supporting each child’s entire development.

If the governor wants to address early learning next session, I challenge her to work with all stakeholders and develop a comprehensive early-learning act (birth to age 5) that would spell out fully this state’s responsibility of how it will support all parents and guardians who are raising young children as lifelong learners.

— Mike Sheehan, Shoreline

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