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Each year in conjunction with the legislative cycle here in Washington state, The Seattle Times editorial board inevitably joins with advocates in sounding the clarion call of the importance of funding quality early learning. This year is no exception with their recent editorial [“Lawmakers should not pick and choose what education to fund,” Opinion, April 17].
The noble plea is for significant investments in early learning because this will ultimately lead to positive outcomes for K-12 and beyond. In fact, brain development research has irrefutably demonstrated that learning begins at birth, or in fact prenatally, and in terms of optimal development the earliest years are crucial.
As the editorial pointed out, the 2012 Supreme Court McCleary decision did not specifically address the state’s responsibility to our youngest learners. The question before the court was whether the state was meeting its “paramount duty” of “ample provision” for the education of all children.
With what we know about the formation of the human brain, particularly in the first three years of life, we should not be reduced to perpetually seeking protection of adequate funding for early childhood education. Rather we should be insisting that it is our state’s constitutional obligation.
— Mike Sheehan, Shoreline