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Creating a high-quality pre-K system available to children across Seattle regardless of economic circumstance is one of the most important things we can do as a city. With the futures of so many children at stake, it is critical we get this right. We need a program that is focused first and foremost on the well being of our kids, which includes high quality standards based on best practices, and is fully funded. The City of Seattle’s pre-K program (Proposition 1B), supported by Mayor Murray, the City Council, early education experts and respected providers is the only ballot measure that meets that test.
Nearly a quarter of all schoolchildren in Seattle have already fallen behind by the time they reach the third grade, and the numbers are significantly worse for children of color and low income and immigrant families. We can fix this problem - kids who receive quality pre-K have better high school and college graduation rates, lower levels of behavioral problems and delinquency, and experience higher levels of economic success as adults. Providing a high quality early learning program in preschool facilities licensed for safety will ensure our kids enter kindergarten ready to learn.
The Seattle Preschool Program makes voluntary, quality preschool an affordable reality for Seattle’s 3- and 4-year old children so that every child regardless of background or income level has the opportunity to flourish in a high quality, safe environment. The competing ballot measure, Proposition 1A (I-107), sounds good but in truth is completely incompatible with the City’s plan. Proposition 1A (I-107) allows for lower quality standards, creates huge unfunded mandates and is opposed by many preschool providers and experts. If it passes the City will likely have to give up its plans to offer universal preschool and thousands of kids will lose out.
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