Seattle Says Yes To Early Learning. Yay!
Colleen Laing, newly appointed, Associate Director of Planning and Public Policy at United Way of King County has something to say about Seattle voters and Prop 1B. Read on to get the details.
Congratulations Seattle voters for passing Proposition 1B! The four-year, $60 million pilot program is free to families making less than $71,000 (for a family of four), and plans to serve 2,000 kids.
According to Washington teachers, half of kindergarteners are not ready to succeed when they enter school; the number rises to 3 in 4 among low-income kids, children of color and those with limited English proficiency. That’s why Prop. 1B’s success means so much to Seattle families.
Children thrive in stable and nurturing environments, yet many of our children live in the instability caused by poverty. They face stressful family and neighborhood circumstances and limited access to high quality early education. The result is less readiness to learn in Kindergarten and beyond.
United Way of King County is committed to ensuring that all children and youth have the opportunity to show up at school safe, well-fed, healthy, housed and ready to learn. We invest in early learning, access to food in school and at home, shelter, and evidence-based interventions. United Way’s signature early learning initiative, the Parent-Child Home Program, provides home visiting services to 1,000 King County families of 2—4 year olds challenged by poverty, literacy, language barriers, limited education and isolation.
Alone, home visiting and preschool programs can impact the achievement gap. Together they can smash it! On average, Parent-Child Home participants enter school performing 10 months above their same-age peers and graduate at a 30% higher rate than their socioeconomic situation would otherwise predict. Adding quality preschool to Parent-Child Home experiences strengthens the likelihood of children’s school success substantially.
Seattle has taken a significant step toward a comprehensive early education system, and we can expect to see increases in school readiness, educational success and social-emotional well-being result.
United Way hopes that Prop. 1B’s momentum will carry-over to the Legislature as they are asked to expand home visiting programs throughout Washington in the 2015 legislative session. Let’s ensure every child has the opportunity for a successful start in life!