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From our readers: Letters to the Editor
About this issue
Having had a “womb” mate (twin sister), the only real insight I can offer into the experience discussed in our feature, “Choosing to Have One” child, is the fact that my two oldest kids are 15 and 10 years older than our youngest. The age spread often makes each one of my kids feel like an only child with no similar-age sibling around to spar and play with, and perhaps provides them with additional (wanted or not) parental attention. Most fascinating to me are the current cultural reasons for why, in the last 20 years, the percentage of singletons has more than doubled, to 23 percent (and is almost 30 percent in New York and Los Angeles).
And when it comes to our state’s position on early learning, we’ve come a long way, baby! I had an opportunity to testify recently before a Senate committee in support of SB 6466, which would create a single focused Department of Early Learning, and it was a thrilling experience. This was just one day after the Governor announced the formation of a public-private partnership between Washington charitable foundations, corporations and state government to support parents and improve the quality of early learning.
Gov. Gregoire and Boeing VP Bob Watts passionately testified in detail about the overwhelming and well-known research documenting how the emotional and social development of preschoolers impacts their later success. Greg Shaw of the Gates Foundation provided a succint summary of their testimony with this note: “No light needs to be shed where there is no darkness.” Hallelujah, I say! This issue has generated political steam in recent months (and has perked the ears of CEOs) because of the clear economic returns on investing in early childhood education. (See “Why economists support early childhood education investments” in the June 2005 ParentMap.)
Following Gregoire and Watt was testimony from leaders of four local foundations that — along with ParentMap — have raised early learning awareness to create a groundswell of political and private business activity around the issue, culiminating with SB 6466.
Now it’s time for all of us to get involved. Contact your state legislators and let them know you support SB 6466 and the companion bill in the House, HB 2964. (To check on the status of these bills and obtain contact information for your legislator, visit the Washington State Legislature homepage.) Your one-minute phone call or email could mean a lifetime of success for our youngest citizens.
—Alayne Sulkin, publisher/editor