Investment must be protected
A recent piece in The Times cited valid reasons for investing in early learning, such as long-term success in school, including a better likelihood of going on to higher education. [“Guest column: Early learning is a crime-fighter,” Opinion, July 17.]
The column also highlighted research demonstrating how quality early learning can, in fact, increase success in the workforce and decrease involvement in the criminal justice system.
These are all good reasons to invest in early learning. No doubt this understanding had much to do with the passage of the recent budget, which included increases for our youngest learners, despite the concerns about impending deficits and the mandate to adequately fund our K-12 system due to the recent Supreme Court decision.
However, as was pointed out, future budgets may be even more contentious. Good investment or not, early-learning programming will be susceptible to “tough decisions and compromises.”
The McCleary vs. State decision reminded the Legislature that they must uphold their constitutional obligation of “ample provision for the education of all children,” as stated in Article IX of the Washington State Constitution.
What we need is a definitive acknowledgment that these so-called “investments” in early learning are connected to Article IX.
Mike Sheehan, Shoreline