Washington’s Gov. Wants to Expand Preschool and Invest in Quality Ratings for Child Care


Washington Gov. Jay Inslee proposed new early learning investments in his plan to enhance the current state budget, including creating 500 spots in the state-sponsored preschool program and supporting improvements in the state’s quality rating and improvement system.


This week, the governor officially kicked off the budget season by unveiling his supplemental budget. His proposed 500 new spots in the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) will keep the program moving towards its goal of reaching all eligible children by 2018-2019. This would be in addition to the 1,850 spots in the current budget. There is still work to do because to reach that goal Washington will need to add more than 10,000 new slots during the next six years.

“Even in the current tough budget time, he (Gov. Inslee) is still willing to move the needle forward on early learning,” said Joel Ryan, head of the Washington State Association of Head Start & ECEAP.

Currently, ECEAP and Head Start combined reach only 39 percent of all eligible 3- and 4-year-olds.


Check out the Department of Early Learning’s plan for full eligible enrollment.


The governor’s budget also will make targeted investments in pilot projects designed to determine how to increase payments to child care centers and home-based providers that are moving up to higher levels in the state’s quality rating and improvement system, Early Achievers.


Promising Idea Tackles One of the Biggest Challenges in Early Ed

In Providence, R.I., they are trying out a new idea to close the estimated 30 million word gap between low-income and higher income children, National Journal reports.


By the time poor children are 3, researchers believe they have heard on average about 30 million fewer words than children the same age from better-off families, setting back their vocabulary, cognitive development, and future reading skills before the first day of school.

The device, a 2-ounce specialized recorder about the size of a deck of cards, maps the intensity of communication between parents and children. The infants and toddlers in Providence Talks will wear it twice a month, tucked into a custom-made vest, for 12 to 16 hours at a time. The recorder then plugs into a computer, where software automatically converts the audio files into charts that can be used by Meeting Street to coach the parents on how and when they might speak to their children more often.

“Low-Income Kids Face a Massive Word Gap. Here’s One Way to Fix It.” National Journal.” 12/17/13.

This is one of the most intriguing ideas I have seen in a long time. Check out the story.