Seattle Pre-K Initiative

Election 2014
5:00 am
Wed October 22, 2014

Seattle Leaders Hope 'Magic Sauce' Will Guarantee 'Quality' In Proposed Pre-K Plan

Genesee Early Learning Center teacher Chanel Priel, center, helps two students as they draw "blueprints" for the pretend construction company their class has been running. It's part of the school's 'play-based' approach to preschool.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Seattle's elected leaders can hardly describe the proposed preschool pilot program at the heart of Proposition 1B without using the phrase "high-quality."

City education officials frequently invoke these words when speaking about their desire to pass a four-year, $58 million property tax hike to not only cover preschool tuition for as many as 2,000 low-income kids, but to ensure these children receive the greatest possible benefit from the program.

But amid a broader debate over whether voters ought to choose the city's plan over a competing childcare initiative, Proposition 1A, a smaller debate has roiled among early educators: What exactly constitutes "high-quality" preschool?

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Seattle Early Ed Vote
1:24 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

On The Heels Of Opponent's Ads, Seattle-Backed Prop. 1B Launches Own TV Ads

Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess, former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice and current mayor Ed Murray attend a a press conference to promote the city-endorsed preschool pilot program in July. Rice is featured in a new campaign ad for the proposal.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

The city-backed campaign to pass a preschool proposal on Seattle's November ballot has announced its first television advertising buy just a day after an opposing, union-backed campaign hit the airwaves with ads of its own.

Organizers for a campaign to pass Proposition 1B — a plan to hike property taxes to pay some low-income students preschool tuition — unveiled two TV spots Tuesday as part of a "six-figure," week-long ad buy. One of the ads features former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice.

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Seattle Early Ed Vote
3:37 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Childcare Campaign To Air TV Ads During Monday Night Seahawks Game

Backers of the Yes for Early Success campaign, whose favored ballot initiative appears on Seattle's November ballot as Proposition 1A, hold a press conference in July.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Supporters of a campaign to raise wages and create a training program for Seattle's childcare workers are hitting the airwaves, unveiling a commercial that will air during one of the city's most-watched television events: Monday night's Seahawks game.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Report: In King County, Childcare Could Cost A Single Mother Half Her Income

S.C. Johnson Wax

Childcare costs in King County are among the highest in the nation, according to a recently-released analysis.

The report shows King County's costs are high even by the standards of Washington state, one of the ten least-affordable states for childcare. Someone earning the median income for single mothers in King County could sink more than half of her salary into the $17,300 average annual cost for infant childcare — a cost already $5,000 higher than the state average.

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Early Childhood Education
3:49 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Unions Appeal Judge's Ruling, Seek Separate Votes On Seattle Pre-K, Childcare Plans

Supporters of Initiative 107 hold a press conference in Seattle's Central District on July 31, 2014. They sued the city in hopes of giving voters the chance to approve both their ballot proposal and the city's preschool pilot plan.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

A union-backed advocacy group for Seattle childcare workers has appealed a lower court ruling that pits a voter initiative the group favors, Initiative 107, against a city-endorsed pre-kindergarten proposal on the November ballot.

The advocacy group, Yes for Early Success, asked the state Court of Appeals to review a King County judge's decision that states Seattle voters cannot cast votes in favor of both I-107 and the city's proposed preschool plan.

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Early Childhood Education
3:34 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

With Judge's Ruling, Seattle Ballot Will Pit Childcare Plan Against Pre-K Pilot

Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess speaks as Mayor Ed Murray and former Mayor Norm Rice look on during a press conference in South Seattle to promote the city-endorsed preschool pilot program.
Kyle Stokes KPLU

Come November, voters can choose one or neither of the two ballot measures that deal with childcare — but not both, according to a King County judge's ruling.

Judge Helen Halpert on Friday shot down a legal challenge designed to allow Seattle voters a chance to approve both measures, namely a pilot program to fund low-income kids' preschool tuition and a minimum wage hike for the city's more than 4,000 childcare workers.

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Early Childhood Education
10:51 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

Unions Sue City Leaders, Hoping To Give Seattle Voters A Second Early Ed. Option

Supporters of I-107 silently protest a Seattle City Council vote to pit the initiative they favor against a city-endorsed preschool pilot proposal at a meeting in June 2014.
Kyle Stokes

Seattle voters might not have to choose between the two early childhood education programs slated for the November ballot despite city leaders' warnings that the two questions are incompatible and contradictory.

Union leaders backing Initiative 107, a ballot initiative that would hike wages and mandate training for the Seattle's 4,000 early childhood workers, filed a lawsuit Wednesday seeking to allow voters to give separate up-or-down votes on their measure as well as on a second, city-backed proposal to create a preschool pilot program.

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Early Childhood Education
4:57 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Seattle Voters Must Choose Between Mayor's Pre-K Program, Union-Backed Childcare Plan

Kyle Stokes

Two proposals dealing with early childhood learning will appear on Seattle ballots this November, but only one can win.

That's the electoral scenario Seattle City Council members set up Monday with their vote to put a proposed preschool pilot program on the November ballot, formally asking voters to hike property taxes to join cities like Denver and Boston in funding an early childhood education program aimed at low-income families.

But voters will have to make a choice. They can approve either the pilot program or Initiative 107, a union-backed citizens' initiative that raises the minimum wage to $15 an hour for more than 4,000 childcare workers and creates a training program for early childhood educators. 

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Early Childhood Education
3:45 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Seattle City Council Delays Preschool Vote After New Ballot Initiative Comes To Light

Preschool students in Beacon Hill cut up local, organic red potatoes on May 4, 2011. The potatoes are part of an effort to get more fresh produce into childcare and senior sites.
Charla Bear KPLU

The Seattle City Council on Monday delayed a vote on a proposed preschool expansion plan following last week's announcement that a separate referendum had gained enough signatures to appear on the November ballot.

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray asked the council to hold off and study how Initiative 107, a "potentially competing proposal," would impact the chances of the preschool pilot program city leaders had also hoped to put before voters in the next general election.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Seattle Voters May See More Than One Preschool Measure On November Ballot

Pre-K students use electronic tablets in San Antonio, another city that has made a city-wide early childhood education push.
Eric Gay AP Photo

Seattle City Council members appear ready to approve two preschool-related ballot items for this November's ballot. 

The council will likely vote at its Monday meeting to ask Seattle voters to approve a package Seattle City Council President Tim Burgess has been pushing for the past year: a preschool pilot program funded by a four-year, $58 million property tax hike.

But council members will also likely certify that a separate, union-backed initiative has received enough signatures to go to the voters. If approved, Initiative 107 would hike the minimum wage to $15 an hour for more than 4,000 childcare workers and create a training program for early childhood educators.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Survey: Most Seattle Kids Enrolled In Pre-K, But Not As Many Attend Full-Time

Pre-kindergarten teaching assistant Mirna Ayala, left, and teacher Laura Amling, right, work with their 3-year-old students to draw an alphabet shape at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C.
Cliff Owen AP Photo

Most Seattle parents put their kids in preschool, but only one-third of the city's children attend full time and — according to results of a citywide survey of 1,300 parents released Tuesday — black and Latino families especially struggle to afford pre-K services. 

The results of the city-commissioned poll come less than a week before City Council members get their first look at legislation that would place a four-year, $58 million property tax question before voters this November that would eventually fund 2,000 pre-K slots in the city if approved.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

As Seattle Mulls Pre-K Program, We Ask: Why Require Teachers To Have B.A.'s?

In this April 30, 2014 photo, children in Erin Kling's, right, pre-kindergarten class recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the school day at Stafford Elementary School in Tacoma, Washington.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Here's a bitter pill preschool teachers must often swallow: they could probably make more money by teaching kids who are just one year older.

The average Washington state preschool instructor makes $28,400 annually — half of what he or she could earn teaching kindergarten. In public school settings, a kindergarten teacher takes home $53,800 every year to a pre-K teacher's $44,700. It makes it harder to lure the best teachers into preschool jobs, or keep them beyond their first few often-rocky years in the classroom.

"I think early childhood is often more attractive than the higher grades for many [teachers], and the pay is so low it still keeps them away," said Steve Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Education Research.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Wed May 21, 2014

As Seattle Mulls Pre-K Program, We Ask: What's The Long-Term Cost?

File image
Eric Gay AP Photo

 

"Lattés cost more," said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray of the property tax hike homeowners would see on their monthly bills if voters approve his proposal to expand the city's preschool services.

Under the proposed four-year, $58 billion tax hike, Murray says the average Seattle homeowner would pay an extra $3.60 in property taxes each month to fund a pilot project serving 2,000 mostly low-income preschool-age kids.

City leaders hope the program will eventually serve even some middle-class preschoolers in the future. But that will cost more money, and Murray isn't clear yet on from where that funding will come.

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Early Childhood Education
5:00 am
Tue May 20, 2014

As Seattle Mulls Pre-K Program, We Ask: What Impact Does Early Learning Have?

File image
Eric Gay AP Photo

Some children have never held a pencil or a pair of scissors when they start the year in teacher DaZanne Davis Porter's kindergarten class.

They enter her classroom at Seattle's Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary at the beginning of the year and "cannot recognize any letters, any colors, any numbers, any shapes," Davis Porter said. "By the end of the year, they are [expected] to be reading."

"When you're starting the journey behind," she asked, "do they ever catch up?"

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Early Childhood Education
4:57 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

If Seattle Creates Preschool Program, Multilingual Providers Would Have Leg Up

Kyle Stokes KPLU

If Seattle voters approve a property tax hike to expand preschool access, the program would start small, paying for a handful of providers to teach a little more than a dozen classrooms of students in its first year.

How will the city choose those few providers? Those teaching preschool kids in multiple languages have a better chance of getting picked.

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