Gregoire proposes enhanced preschool - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Gregoire proposes enhanced preschool

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Governor Chris Gregoire wants all preschools for children ages 3 and 4 to be certified by the state.
     
As a press conference Monday, Gregoire said that certification would mean that all preschools would operate under the same standards set by the Department of Early Learning.
     
Officials say that the state currently oversees about 7,600 licensed child-care facilities around the state, but an unknown number of facilities and in-home programs are currently exempt under current law.
     
Under Gregoire's proposal, more low-income parents would receive financial help on a sliding scale to send their children to preschool. Gregoire says preschool attendance would still be voluntary.

Speaking Monday, Gregoire also revealed reforms for students in K-12.

The reforms for K-12 that Gregoire proposed will improve student achievement and make Washington more competitive for federal Race To The Top dollars, according to the governor's office. Specifically, they will:

  • Extend the evaluation period for a new teacher from two years to three years
  • Develop criteria and standards to evaluate teachers and principals
  • Require schools with the lowest performance over time to engage in turnaround process overseen by the state following one of four federal models for improvement
  • Expand the type of providers for alternative routes for teacher and principal certification
  • Encourage school districts to use local funds to pay teachers for closing the achievement gap or developing innovative programs for science, technology, engineering and math

"Our children will face a globally competitive economy when they grow up, recession or not," said Gregoire. "We must give them the tools to succeed. These proposals are going to make sure every child will get a quality education, from our youngest learners to high school seniors."

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