The science is clear and the parent surveys are in. Good preschool education saves taxpayer dollars over time. It reduces crime and closes educational "opporutnity/achievement gaps" between income cohorts and ethnic groups. In a March 2014 survey of 1,300 Seattle parents, 96% agreed that all kids should get preschool education and 90% agreed that government should help families pay for it.
In May 2014, the Seattle City Council completed research and public outreach around a plan to offer all kids preschool education. Their plan would raise property taxes and charge families who opt-in on a sliding fee scale, so very low-income families would pay nothing. The Council later voted to put their plan on the Nov. 4, 2014 ballot alongside a competing proposal crafted by two labor unions (SEIU and AFT). This Seattle Weekly article published July 2nd calls out the major issues on both sides. The video below highlights the merits of early education.
It's unclear whether voters will have the choice to enact just one or both of the proposals. A major debate is coming this fall over what "quality" means and how the new system should unfold. The debate will be intense and confusing with the usual high volume of commentary from everyone except parents. The office of Mayor Ed Murray estimates the cost of the City's plan at $58 million and the union-backed proposal at $141 million.
What do you think? Have your say on The Parent Exchange.