It was a year of steady progress in early learning around Washington state. As the New Year begins we look back at the region’s top five stories in early education of 2013.
Racing Closer to the Top
Washington is wrapping up the second year of work implementing its Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant and it continues to hit key targets. (The Race to the Top was a top story last year and remains one of the biggest efforts around the state.) Here are highlights:
- Washington State Is Making Progress in Its Early Learning Race to the Top
- A Big Step Toward Quality: Washington Expands Its Child Care Ratings Statewide
- Washington State’s Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge Work Gains National Attention
- Washington’s Quality Rating and Improvement System Will Expand Dramatically This Year
In other Race to the Top news, six states were awarded Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grants in December. Check out the news from the federal Health & Human Services department.
State Legislature and Governor Support Early Ed
Jay Inslee took over as Washington’s governor in 2013, but that change didn’t mean a drop in support for early learning. The new state budget expanded preschool, invested in home visiting and continued to build bridges between early learning and K-3. Check out details:
- Top Five Reasons New Parents and Early Educators Care about Washington’s New Budget
- Washington Has a Brand New Plan to Expand Public Preschool
Federal Budget Cuts
One of the biggest stories of the year in Washington and across the country was the budget sequester, across-the-board cuts to federal spending. Last month, Congress finally crafted a budget deal, thanks to the leadership of Washington Sen. Patty Murray, which should alleviate these cuts that were cutting back early learning programs around the state.
Stability at the Top
Gov. Inslee reappointed Bette Hyde to lead the Department of Early Learning, which means one of the key architects of Washington’s plan to create a leading early education infrastructure will continue her work.
A Road Map to Early Learning Success
One of the leading early education initiatives in Washington is The Road Map Project in South King County. In July, this coalition of seven school districts and community groups officially kicked off one of its core strategies, PreK-3rd work for the school districts.
Other Important Developments
- Washington Policymakers Consider a Small Proposal That Could Be a Major Kindergarten Improvement
- Power of Cooperation: Three Urban Districts In Washington Join Forces to Turn PreK-3rd Ideas into Reality
- Washington Families Struggle to Pay for Basics; Data Does Not Fully Reflect State’s Diversity