Early childhood education is increasingly being accepted as a public responsibility, rather than viewed as solely the responsibility of families. Changes in the workforce and demands from parents for high-quality child care, federal and state education reform efforts, and local initiatives are focusing attention on high-quality early childhood education as a critical component of school readiness and educational equity.
School districts in Washington state understand the importance of early education as a key strategy for closing the student achievement gap. In the absence of strong leadership from the state, the districts themselves are finding ways to provide pre-kindergarten programs and full-day kindergarten classes to a growing number of students.
The Economic Opportunity Institute (EOI) undertook the first survey of the state’s 296 districts in order to document the extent of school district involvement in early education, identify promising models, and help shape policy decisions about moving toward universal preschool and full-day kindergarten. This report presents an overview of the survey’s findings.