Northwest Voices | Letters to the Editor
Improving Washington state's public schools
State must make ‘ample provision’
In a recently published Seattle Times editorial, the question was raised as to whether it would be appropriate to fund an expansion of this state’s comprehensive preschool program with revenue gained as a result of the legalization of marijuana [“The state of education,” Opinion, Feb. 14].
The question should not be whether or not we have to rely on gimmicks to fund important early learning initiatives, rather what is our ultimate responsibility.
The definition of basic education in Washington is a reflection of a constitutional mandate, not the reverse. In terms of early learning, to “ ... make ample provision for the education of all children …” [Washington state Constitution] does not have to be tied to K-12 funding to indicate legitimacy.
In addition to the expansion of preschool programming, House Bill 1723 would strengthen this state’s birth-to-3 programming, e.g. home visiting.
The proposed legislation acknowledges that “… children who have high quality early learning opportunities from birth through age 5 are more likely to succeed throughout their K-12 education and beyond.”
Recognizing a mandate to fund quality early learning in Washington is not based on whether it can be made to fit into the definition of basic education, but whether it addresses the criteria of ample provision.
--Mike Sheehan, Shoreline