Legislature wraps up assembly days: What was the early learning conversation?

The Legislature finished up a week of committee meetings today. During these “assembly days,” lawmakers get updates on key issues that they’ll likely focus on during the upcoming legislative session (the 2011 session starts Jan. 10).

Our state’s youngest learners continued to be a hot topic on Capitol Campus. DEL updated legislators on several initiatives:
  • On Monday, we and our partners at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction updated the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee on the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS) pilot, currently under way in 115 classrooms around the state. Click here to watch that presentation, which includes a “real world” view from a kindergarten teacher participating in the WaKIDS pilot.
  • On Thursday, we shared information with the House Education Appropriations Committee on the progress of the preschool work group established in Senate Bill 6759. The work group is charged with creating a plan that looks at what a “voluntary program of early learning” might look like in Washington. (You can read more about this on the preschool work group web page.) Click here to watch that presentation.
  • And earlier today, DEL Director Bette Hyde updated the House Early Learning & Children’s Services Committee on DEL’s accomplishments and next steps. Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn and Thrive by Five Washington President & CEO Nina Auerbach joined Bette to talk about our strong Early Learning Joint Resolution Partnership, and the key priorities from the Early Learning plan we are focused on implementing in 2011. Video of that work session will be online at www.tvw.org soon.
Thrive by Five Washington President & CEO Nina Auerbach, DEL Director Bette Hyde and Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn present to the House Early Learning & Children's Services Committee on Friday, Dec. 10.

Also this week: Both House and Senate committees heard updates on an effort to create recommendations to redesign WorkFirst, Washington’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The WorkFirst program includes Working Connections Child Care subsidies.
Recommendations for how to redesign WorkFirst as a sustainable program that helps vulnerable residents on the path to self-sufficiency are expected to be delivered to the Governor in January. Watch the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee work session here and the House Health & Human Services Appropriations Committee work session here.