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Opinion Northwest

Join the informed writers of The Times' editorial board in lively discussions at our blog, Opinion Northwest.

Topic: early learning

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November 20, 2014 at 6:05 AM

Are King County taxpayers ready to fund levy focused on early childhood?

Seattleites just voted overwhelmingly to fund universal preschool. Will King County taxpayers supplement that effort next August or October by passing the Best Starts for Kids levy? This measure being floated by King County Executive Dow Constantine would fund early childhood programs and youth services. During a phone interview this week, Constantine said details are yet…

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Comments | Topics: brain development, early childhood, early learning

September 19, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Seattle closer to high-quality universal preschool

Donna Grethen, Op Art

Donna Grethen/Op Art

Seattle is a step closer to becoming one of the few cities in the nation offering universal preschool. A City Council committee Wednesday approved a proposal for voluntary, high-quality preschool for all 3- and 4-year-old children in the city. The resolution passed by the Government Performance and Finance Committee authorizes the city Office of Education to figure out how many 3 and 4 year olds living in Seattle are not currently enrolled in high-quality preschool, design a preschool program to serve them and figure out how to pay for it.

Tall order. But it is being done in cities like San Antonio, San Francisco and Boston.

Besides universal preschool is one of the few things everyone at City Hall agrees on. Under Mayor Mike McGinn, the $231 million Seattle Families and Education Levy helps fund 20 preschool sites operated by 11 community agencies. This City of Seattle news release back in July reported another $470,000 for the city’s Step Ahead preschool program, bringing Seattle’s total investment in early learning to $62 million over the life of the seven-year levy passed in 2011.  Learn more about Seattle’s pre-K initiatives here.

Both the mayor and the man who wants his job support universal pre-K. State Sen. Ed Murray’s mayoral campaign sent an email touting his support for the proposal. The Democrat was in the Legislature in 2006 when Gov. Gregoire proposed a state agency for early learning and a public-private partnership, Thrive by Five, which invests in early learning efforts.

“If I am elected mayor, I will work closely with Council member Burgess, other members of the City Council and stakeholders to ensure we put a proposal before the voters during my first term in office,” Murray’s statement read.

All of Seattle’s wealth, innovative spirit and focus on education ought to be called upon to make this effort succeed.

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Comments | Topics: 3to23, children, early learning

May 31, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Important bills deserve passage before Washington Legislature’s special session ends

Over the next couple weeks, lawmakers will attempt to negotiate a state budget and get out of Olympia. They’ve got their work cut out for them. Many bills remain stalled, even if they are common sense and deserve action this year. I’d like to start keeping a running list. Let us know what bills you’re…

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Comments | Topics: disability rights, early learning, Education