Re: “Early education programs can solve a host of problems” (Viewpoint, 1-13).
Retired Rear Adm. Alan Steinman was correct in emphasizing that quality pre-kindergarten programs are important not only for our children’s futures, but also for our nation’s future security and economic prosperity.
Access to quality early care and education programs is also a critical workforce issue for businesses and families. And we don’t have to wait 18 years for these investments to bear fruit. A new America’s Edge report shows that early learning investments in Washington will increase employee productivity today and help us attract and retain skilled workers and new businesses.
As the former president and CEO of the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, I also know that a well-established predictor of where families choose to live includes elementary school test scores. Children with access to high-quality early learning programs improved math and reading performance in the elementary years compared to children left out.
Quality early learning experiences help children develop reading, writing and math skills as well as critical social and emotional abilities to become good communicators and problem-solvers – skills that are essential to success in school and throughout one’s career.
I join Steinman in urging Gov. Jay Inslee and the Legislature to support adequate funding for our state’s Early Childhood Education & Assistance Program (ECEAP) at the same time they are addressing the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision for full-funding of basic K-12 education.