Creating better support for all students through K-12 funding continues to be a significant challenge for our legislature. In Tacoma, only 41-52% of our 3rd-5th graders score at or above grade level in English, language arts, and math, and just 50% of our kindergartners arrive at school prepared.
One proven solution to these problems is our state’s high-quality Pre-K program Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP) for low-income students. During 2015-2016, the number of ECEAP students who scored at or above age level in early literacy and math rose by 88% and 310%, respectively. ECEAP students also score much higher in math and reading in 3rd-5th grade compared to their peers who did not participate in ECEAP.
The consequences of low educational levels are long-lasting. An unprepared workforce negatively impacts all of our employers, public and private. Today, 14% of people aged 16-24 are neither in school nor employed.
Increased access to ECEAP is a wise, long-term strategy that will help our youngest learners, especially low-income students, get a strong start in school and life.