Dear neighbors, The budget we passed out of the House last week aligns with our shared values and makes real investments in the future of our economy and the well-being of our children, families, and communities. With this budget, we are supporting an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. Education The first thing on everyone’s mind this year has been funding education. One of the best tools we have to give all Washingtonians the opportunity to … Continue reading
Watch Rep. Brian Blake respond to constituent emails on why he doesn’t support legislation that ties students tests scores to teacher evaluations, and on why he strongly supports the Early Learning Act.
OLYMPIA – Today, in a 67-31 vote the House passed HB 1491, the Early Start Act, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle. “Half of Washington’s children are set up to fail,” said Kagi. “On the first day of kindergarten, they’re behind on math and language and don’t have the social and emotional skills to succeed. These kids are starting a lifelong race 20 yards behind. Most never catch up. If you’re a mom or dad, a business owner or a … Continue reading
“I am delighted to see the business community wholeheartedly supporting Early Start in this new report from ReadyNation called “Quality Matters Most – The business case for investments in high-quality early learning.” The report states: “Quality preschool can have, on average, a net return after subtracting costs, of over $26,000 for every child served. This means better outcomes for our economy and our families, and more effective use of tax dollars.” “I couldn’t agree more. Early learning is the best … Continue reading
The Case for Universal Pre-K Investing in high quality early learning is not only a great for kids, but it’s good for taxpayers too. Emily Badger of the Washington Post lays out a great argument for supporting universal Pre-K. In a nutshell, it provides an excellent return on investment as the graph below shows. Spending money today on early learning means we spend less tomorrow on services like unemployment, health care, and incarceration. We have a bill in the House, … Continue reading
High quality Early Learning. Washington Sheriffs and Police Chiefs know that the smartest investment we can make in crime prevention is early learning. Every child who drops out of school, takes drugs and ends up in a life of crime costs our state an average of $2.5 million. It’s as simple as pay now or pay a lot more later. Check out this opinion piece by Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones supporting Early Start.
Low quality childcare is actually bad for children. Not “less good.” On the other hand, high quality opportunities can improve school readiness in low-income children by two years and make significant improvements in all kinds of non-academic indicators like incarceration rates, family income, etc. There is a ton of research in this area, and it all points to the conclusion that only high quality programs move the school readiness needle in the right direction. A good, readable summary of the … Continue reading
OLYMPIA – Yesterday, in a packed hearing room, Early Learning & Human Services Committee members heard testimony from countless supporters on HB 1491, The Early Start Act. “Early learning has the highest return on investment of any education dollar spent,” said Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, Chairwoman of the Early Learning & Human Services Committee and prime sponsor of the bill. “Estimates range from $4-$17 for every dollar invested. When children start school with the skills they need, they are prepared … Continue reading
Thank you, Pat, for those kind words. You are a tremendous leader and a great friend. To get started, please join me in welcoming all the new members to the People’s House. I look forward to working with each of you. We all have loved ones back home, making it possible for us to serve. Without my wife Nancy’s love and advice, I wouldn’t be here. And I am very grateful for the support of my son and daughter. So … Continue reading
Representative Ruth Kagi was recently honored by the Children’s Alliance with the Gold Crayon Award – for her commitment to children, families and early learning. As chair of the House Early Learning and Human Services Committee, Rep. Kagi has been a tireless advocate for children and families. Since 1999, she’s been at the forefront of efforts to: Reform and improve our foster care system. Give working parents the tools they need to care for their family. Ensure those with developmental … Continue reading
“Heeeellllooo! Aaaaare you smiiiiiling, baby?” There is a special term for this expressive, lyrical way parents talk to their babies – parentese. Parents have known for a long time how important it is to talk, read and interact with babies. But, new research published in the National Academy of Sciences from the University of Washington I-LABS, (Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences) has finally shown this to be true. By using non-invasive brain scanning machine called MEG, I-LABS has been … Continue reading
Rep. Tana Senn selected for Early Learning Fellows Program, appointed to State Building Code CouncilMay 9, 2014 - Rep. Tana Senn
Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island) has been selected as one of 20 legislators across the country to take part in the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Early Learning Fellows Program. The Early Learning Fellows Program is designed to support legislators who are experienced or emerging leaders on early childhood and early learning issues. Rep. Senn was nominated for the fellowship by House leadership after she demonstrated passion for early learning issues during the 2014 legislative session. In fact, Rep. Senn’s … Continue reading
House Democrats unveiled their 2014 supplemental budget proposal and education investment package on Wednesday. The proposal includes: $60 million in additional funds for basic education $10.4 million to improve community mental health services $20.5 million for child care providers To restore voter-approved (I-732) cost-of-living adjustments for teachers, which have been suspended since 2009, and fund the Early Start Act (improving quality in early learning), House Democrats are proposing to repeal or narrow four costly tax exemptions: Extracted Fuel $31.7 million … Continue reading
DREAM Act moves to the Governor’s office Last night, the House voted to send the DREAM Act to the Governor’s desk in a truly bipartisan fashion. The bill makes a small change in public policy – opening up financial aid opportunities to all high school students in Washington – but it will have a huge impact on thousands of students. A constituent wrote a kind letter thanking me for supporting the DREAM Act, and his words are a powerful … Continue reading
The state House of Representatives approved HB 2377 today by a vote of 64-33, which will substantially improve the quality of early learning for kids in Washington State. “If we want to improve school readiness outcomes for students, our best investment is in high-quality early learning,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Ross Hunter of Medina. “We now know how to assess the quality of pre-school programs and assess these outcomes. We just have to be serious about doing it. The … Continue reading
Rep. Brian Blake, D-Aberdeen, responds to constituent emails on early learning education, and on the privacy issues that drones may pose.
Table of Contents Introduction DREAM Act Early Learning Quality Transportation K-12 Education 24-Credit Graduation Requirement Teacher and Principal Evaluation Changes Supplemental Budget Issues People are Writing in About Oil Tax Loophole Background Checks for Gun Purchasers Age Wave Study Hospital Mergers Contact Me Introduction Thank you again for allowing me the opportunity to serve the community in the Legislature. This is my 12th year in this role and I am proud to have been elected by my peers to … Continue reading
It’s going to be an exciting weekend. GO HAWKS!! After Floor action today, some of my colleagues and I got together to show our 12th Man spirit! Where we are so far This busy third week of session ended on a particularly high note – we honored the men and women of Washington’s National Guard in both the House and Senate today. It’s a very moving experience to meet some of the Guard’s citizen-soldiers and airmen who do so much … Continue reading
Although K-12 education gets most of the media attention, our state’s higher education and early learning systems are also vitally important to the success of our kids — and, ultimately, of our state. I am holding a Community Conversation tomorrow to hear what you think the legislature should be doing around these important issues. Please join me this Saturday, February 1. I will be in the Glacier Room at Green River Community College from 10:30 a.m. until noon. The address … Continue reading
Our public K-12 education system gets the lion’s share of attention from the media, the legislature, the state budget, and – these days, at least – the state Supreme Court. But there are two other education systems in our state that fill vital roles in our society and our economy: higher education and early learning. Ideally, these would fit seamlessly on either end of the K-12 system, providing our students with a smooth transition at each step. However, we know … Continue reading
State Representative Lillian Ortiz-Self has been assigned to positions on theEarly Learning & Human Services Committee, the Environment Committee, and the Transportation Committee. Ortiz-Self is taking the seat vacated by Rep. Marko Liias, who moved on to the Senate to replace retired Sen. Paull Shin. “A quality education starting at a young age is the solution to so many of the social problems we face,” said Ortiz-Self, a counselor at North Middle School, whose extensive work in numerous child service … Continue reading
We are into week two of our nine week session. As such, time to hear bills and get them moved through committee is very limited. In the Labor and Workforce Development Committee, which I chair, we have had a number of bills dealing with wage theft and the underground economy, as well as issues dealing with electrical industrial regulations. There are many more bills to hear on minimum wage, prevailing wage and workplace safety. Quality counts with early learning Washington … Continue reading
From the get-go, our youngest students need the right tools to get their school careers off on the right foot. For many years, educators, lawmakers and parents have stressed the need for children five- and six-years-old to hit the kindergarten ground running. In 2012, the legislature established WAKids, a transition process to help kids get a successful start in school and to assess the learning readiness of each child. The Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills results are now in. … Continue reading
Rep. Ross Hunter and Sen. Steve Litzow introduced bipartisan companion bills in the Legislature this week that aim to improve the overall quality of early learning by creating a mixture of incentives and requirements for child care providers. “Low quality care is actually bad for children,” said Hunter. “It’s not less good. It’s bad. Our state has done a great job creating an early learning system and expanding access to tens of thousands of children, but now it’s time to … Continue reading
Last year, on May 2, five-month-old Baby Eve died of SIDS in a Seattle Childcare called First Nest. The story doesn’t end there. Twelve years earlier, another infant, Baby Graham, died at First Nest, also from SIDS. Today, in the Early Learning & Human Services Committee, Eve’s parents, Amanda and Kyle Uphold, and Graham’s parents, Andy and Barbara Hazzard, testified in favor of Rep. Ruth Kagi’s bill, HB 2165. HB 2165 will require an outside review of a childcare or … Continue reading
The 2014 Legislative Session starts next Monday and, although it is only a 60-day session, there are a lot of important issues on the table. Among the most pressing are: Transportation – There is substantial need for infrastructure improvements at both the state and local levels, including SR 167. We also need to make sure our transit system is adequate for our communities. Additionally, there have been calls for policy changes to our transportation systems. How should the state move … Continue reading
Upward of 11 million kids under 5 years old across the nation are enrolled in some type of professional child-care setting. It’s not much of an exaggeration to suggest that it takes a village to raise the money to pay the monthly child-care bill. No matter where in the USA parents and other guardians call home, they face child-care costs pricey and getting pricier. But the Evergreen State is in the “Bottom 10,” in terms of how much we Washington … Continue reading
I visited a family child care provider in Bellevue last week. I’ve been working with Representative Ruth Kagi on trying to figure out how to improve both the reach and quality of our early learning system for at risk kids, and seeing how stuff works in person is pretty valuable. This wasn’t a facility for at-risk kids. In fact, it costs over a thousand dollars a month for preschool kids, more for infants and toddlers. (They require a higher staff … Continue reading
Washington’s preschool enrollment is wedged at one of the most-in-need-of-improvement levels in the country, according to an Annie E. Casey Foundation national report. This disheartening information defies a near-universal principle: Early learning is a must-have if we expect students to do well as they get older. Indeed, folks for years have maintained that the youngest kids need to start off on the right educational foot in order to sustain success on through their school careers. Children of color and children … Continue reading
Session Update As always, thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Legislature. It’s an honor and a privilege. This year the “privilege” part got a little weak towards the end of 6 months in Olympia, but the we finally got a budget done. It’s a budget I’m pleased with, mostly. This newsletter has a number of sections – I’ve included the top couple of paragraphs in this email, with the remainder of the stories on my web … Continue reading
While I’m not sure I agree with the scary headline of this post from the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, I totally agree that we should be thinking carefully about how we implement a major upgrade of our early education program for at-risk kids. (Good headlines drive more readership, hence I quote it in my title…) You can read their conclusions here, but the following paragraph is a good summary: When well designed and implemented third-party … Continue reading
Education – Early Learning through Higher Education Integrating early learning (HB 1723) – Creates a framework for developing an integrated, high quality early learning continuum for low-income children ages birth to 5. Reforming Working Connections Child Care (SB 5595) – Develops user-friendly customer service and creates a legislative task force to develop recommendations to transition the program to a high quality, integrated, early- education oriented service. State-Tribal education compacts (HB 1134) – Allows OSPI (rather than the State itself) to … Continue reading
The state will step up to its responsibility to educate public-school students and will make sure college graduates are ready for high-demand jobs under the budget proposal released by the House Democratic majority on Wednesday. The budget proposal authored by House Appropriations Chair Ross Hunter, D-Medina, dedicates more new funding to education than either of the budget plans released earlier by the Senate Republicans or Gov. Inslee. “This is an honest, straightforward budget that meets our constitutional obligation to our … Continue reading
Top 10 Reasons the Senate Budget is bad for Kids, Middle Class Families and Our Future 15 NEW tax loopholes; zero eliminated – The Senate plans to add 15 new tax breaks while not eliminating even one existing corporate giveaway.
The opportunity gap is growing. Seventy-five percent of Washington’s young adults aged 17-24 are ineligible to serve in the military. Why? Too many do not graduate from high school, have criminal records or suffer from obesity. We need our young people to succeed in school, stay out of crime and become healthy, fit adults. Parents and children must have the support they need to build strong families and strong futures.
Expand early learning by fixing the state’s Working Connections Child Care program The state’s Working Connections Child Care program needs reform, writes guest columnist Jessyn Farrell. EDUCATION and jobs. These two issues have been discussed extensively in the Washington state Legislature with little consensus about how to address either subject. Reforming one state-funded program, however, would offer the Legislature an opportunity to make progress on both challenges at the same time.
Already a leader in the field of early learning, Washington state would take a giant step toward preparing all kids for success in kindergarten and beyond under far-reaching legislation headed for the state Senate. House Bill 1723, by Rep. Ruth Kagi, D-Seattle, aims to create integrated, high quality early learning opportunities, for children from birth to age 5, to be financed in large part by anticipated tax revenue from the 2012 legalization of marijuana under Initiative 502. The bill, Early … Continue reading
What’s up with early learning funding here in Washington, and how do we measure up against other states? Why should the state invest in early learning programs? Rep. Kagi talks with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds on The Conversation, and mentions her proposal to create a birth-to-five early learning continuum funded by money from Initiative 502. That proposal has a public hearing today at 1:30 p.m. in the House Early Learning and Human Services committee. You can read the article and hear … Continue reading
On January 14th, Representative Roger Freeman took the oath of office and was officially sworn in to serve the citizens of the 30th legislative district in the Washington State Legislature. “I am excited to represent the people of the 30th Legislative District and be their advocate in Olympia. I am grateful to have so many people supporting me on this journey,” said Freeman.
Over the summer, State Representative Mary Helen Roberts traveled to Denver to attend the National Conference of State Legislature’s Opportunities for Working Families Leadership Forum. During the forum, four legislators from three states were interviewed on the challenges facing working families. Rep. Roberts, former vice chair of the Early Learning and Human Services Committee, weighed in on job creation and workforce development. “We know there are jobs available, but often times people don’t know they are available or how to … Continue reading
Rep. Ruth Kagi (D – Shoreline) has been reappointed to chair the House Early Learning and Human Services committee for the 2013 session. Since first coming to the state legislature in 1999, Kagi’s focus has been on improving early learning opportunities and quality child care options for children and families, strengthening the state’s foster care system, and reducing child poverty. She was recognized this year as a “Champion for Children” by the non-profit Children’s Alliance, and was presented with a … Continue reading
Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-Renton) received her committee assignments this week for the 2013 legislative session. Maxwell will serve on the coveted House Appropriations Committee where decisions on budget allocations are made. Maxwell will also serve on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Education for K-12, early learning, and higher education. Stable and ample education funding is a top priority for Maxwell. She has led work since 2009 to improve the state’s basic education program which must be supported with funding. Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court ruled … Continue reading
State Representative Mary Helen Roberts (D-Lynnwood) received her committee assignments for the upcoming legislative session when the House Democratic Caucus released their committee structure this morning. Rep. Roberts, a longtime advocate for reforming the state’s criminal justice system, will serve as vice-chair of the House Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness (PSEP) Committee. The committee’s jurisdiction includes prevention, penalties and sentencing for criminals. PSEP will also likely consider implementation issues regarding Initiative 502, the voter-approved measure that legalized the recreational use … Continue reading
In this video, Rep. Larry Seaquist shares his ideas on how to fully fund K-12 education, early learning, and higher education in Washington state.
OLYMPIA – Early learning advocates cheered when it was announced in December that our state would receive a $60 million Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant. Yesterday, the legislature gave final approval to a measure that will enable many more children in Washington to reap the benefits of this grant. House Bill 2586, sponsored by Rep. Ruth Kagi (D – Lake Forest Park), commits Washington to statewide implementation of a skills inventory for incoming kindergarteners. It is called … Continue reading
House Democrats applaud the news announced today that Washington state will receive $60 million in early learning grant dollars from the federal government. Check out the details on our blog.