In a characteristically staid State of the County address, King County Executive Dow Constantine today laid out goals for the next year to join Seattle’s work on early learning and income inequality.
Constantine barely touched on the year’s hottest political issue, the $15 minimum wage proposal in Seattle. He said he is letting Seattle Mayor Ed Murray take the lead on that, and spoke more broadly about the disparate opportunities in parts of the county, where one ZIP code might have a $100,000 higher average household income than the next one over.
To make his point, Constantine delivered his speech to the Metropolitan King County Council at White Center Heights Elementary School, where Highline Schools Superintendent Susan Enfield said just 15% of kindergarten students arrive ready to start school. At wealthier schools in the same district, nearly 80% of students do. Because of that disparity, Constantine said he will join the push to provide preschool to more students.
Constantine announced plans to work with the University of Washington School of Education on an inventory of early learning opportunities. And he said he will personally visit school districts.
The executive also laid out plans for partnerships with other cities and non-profits to combat homelessness and climate change. Overall, he declared King County “strong.”
“No matter how good we are at managing problems, we fall short if we fix only that which is right in front of us,” he said.