Washington State Legislative Victories
Success in The Evergreen State
During the 2017 session, Council for a Strong America members in Washington State supported efforts to expand preschool, preserve home visiting, ensure quality afterschool and summertime programs for students, modify K12 policy that helps students get ready for success after high school, and establish the Department of Children, Youth and Families.
Narrowly avoiding a partial government shutdown, the Washington state legislative session for the 2018 fiscal year is now adjourned. Members of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, Mission: Readiness, and ReadyNation helped secure several key victories for next year’s budget, including an extra $37.8 million for preschool across the state. We thank all our members for their crucial help putting children in need on the path to successful, citizen-ready adulthood.
Some of the key outcomes our members were involved in are:
- $37.8 million for an additional 1,800 preschool students statewide, including a 6% increase in the money allotted each child. Legislation was also enacted to make it easier for local governments, school districts, businesses, and nonprofits to support preschool expansion. Read more on the importance of access to early learning.
- $1.4 million investment for home visiting programs that will help preserve services for more than 200 families in need.
- $750,000 to support a one-year continuation of an expanded learning opportunity pilot that aims to increase the quality of programs that teach kids life experience skills beyond the classroom.
- First steps toward the fusion of the Department of Early Learning and the Department of Social and Health Services Children’s Administration into the Department of Children, Youth and Families (with juvenile justice joining in 2019), oversight of which is elevated to the Cabinet Secretary. Additionally, administration of home visiting programs was transferred to the Department of Early Learning. These changes are intended to better coordinate the delivery of services and ultimately result in better outcomes for our kids in the long run.
- Enactment of legislation that maintains high standards to prepare students for the career pathway of their choice after high school, while providing districts with more flexibility to support students’ needs.
ReadyNation member Mike Edwards (right) meets with State Representative J.T. Wilcox, Minority Floor Leader and Appropriations Committee Member, to discuss how investing in high-quality preK has a strong return down the line in K12 and the workforce.
Pictured at top of page: Kennewick Police Chief Ken Hohenberg shares the benefits of early learning with State Senator Sharon Brown, Majority Deputy Leader and Vice Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
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