Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and City Council President Tim Burgess are wrapping up a study mission to Boston, New Jersey and Washington D.C., this week to learn first-hand about high-quality, publicly funded preschool programs.
Both Boston and New Jersey have implemented preschool programs that produce significant short- and long-term benefits for participating children, according to independent evaluations, Burgess said.
In all, 40 people from Seattle are participating in the study mission including Councilmembers Sally Bagshaw and Bruce Harrell as well as leaders from Seattle Public Schools, King County, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, SEIU Local 925, OneAmerica and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
Today the group was in Washington D.C. to meet with the state Congressional delegation and with officials from the U. S. Department of Education.
Seattle is considering adopting a voluntary, universal preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds. Preliminary discussions call for the program to be free for low-income children and on a sliding scale for others. A measure to fund a city-wide program could go to voters in November.