As a result of his work in the 2015 and 2016 legislative sessions, Sen. Steve Litzow has been recognized with the “Crayon Award” by the Early Learning Action Alliance for his work to expand access to and improve the quality of early learning in Washington state. Last year Litzow sponsored the Early Start Act in the Senate and as chair of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee has championed educational opportunities for the state’s youngest learners.
“Students who arrive in kindergarten ready to learn have more success in school and in life,” said Litzow, of Mercer Island. “When looking at our education system as a whole — from early learning through higher education — success in early ages translates to success later on.”
The Early Learning Action Alliance is a broad coalition of organizations representing a diverse array of Washington nonprofits, professional associations, and businesses. The coalition is “united by the belief that all children in Washington State deserve to have the opportunities and support they need in their first five years of life to be prepared for school and a bright future.”
“High quality early learning is a proven investment in our future,” said Jon Gould, deputy director of the Children’s Alliance, which convenes the ELAA. “We thank Sen. Litzow for his strong support of the historic Early Start Act.”
The coalition presents awards to legislative champions every two years to highlight the importance of state leadership on early learning and child care issues. The past two years have seen the Legislature make historic gains for children and families.
The Early Start Act gives more young children the opportunity to access the effective, high quality programs and policies that have made Washington state a nationally recognized leader in early learning. Program and policy reforms are guided by emerging brain science research and the positive long-term impact quality early learning has on a child’s school readiness, overall health and life.
The current two-year state budget invests an additional $159 million in early learning and care — the largest increase in state history — which includes an additional 1,600 slots in the state’s Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program and funding to implement the Early Start Act.