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 improve the quality of care our kids receive.”
“We’re trying to find the best way to provide every child with the opportunity to be successful in the global economy,” said Litzow. “By improving the quality and accessibility of early learning in our state we can start closing the opportunity gap and provide children with the skills to be successful.”
The Early Start Act of 2014 will create tiered reimbursements, improve coaching and mentoring, and improve financial stability for providers. It will also require current early learning providers to reach Level 3 in the Washington State Early Achievers program within five years. New providers will have 30 months to reach Level 3.
“High quality early learning programs give us the outcomes we all want as a state like higher academic achievement, improved graduation rates, and lower incarceration rates,” said Hunter.
TVW: News conference