News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) held up Washington state’s coordination of early education programs as an example of a successful early education effort at a Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on early childhood education. Murray recently introduced the Ready to Learn Act that would provide significant federal resources for early learning programs across the country. At the hearing she stressed the importance of investing in high-quality early learning programs, as well as the importance of coordinating resources to best prepare children for success in school and beyond.  

“We know that children who attend high-quality pre-k programs are less likely to be held back a grade or to need special education, and they are more likely to graduate from high school,” Senator Murray said in the hearing today. “They also have higher earnings as adults and are less likely to become dependent on welfare or involved in crime….I’m glad to say that my home state of Washington has really embraced investments in early childhood education. In fact, in 2006, the Governor and the Legislature in partnership created the State Department of Early Learning, the first Cabinet-level agency of its kind in the nation. The work of the department focuses on children's earliest years of life. And with almost half a million children in Washington ages birth to six, we see tremendous opportunities to prepare all of our youngest citizens for success.”

“In Washington State, we’ve been a leader in early childhood education, creating the nation’s first Cabinet-level Department of Early Learning to align programs that will prepare newborns and toddlers for kindergarten and lifelong learning,” said Governor Chris Gregoire. “As Congress looks to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), I believe early learning must be a part of the underlying law that guides our nation’s education system and I appreciate the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee holding today’s hearing.  I also thank Senator Murray for her leadership on early education, and for introducing the ‘Ready to Learn Act’ that creates strong partnerships between the federal government, states, and others so that we can make the best investment possible for our future – our children.”