Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How do we pay for it?

That perennial question forms the basis for much of what is being discussed today in Seattle by the Joint Transportation Committee.

Continuing a busy summer of meetings, JTC will spend time addressing alternative transportation funding methods. As vehicles become more fuel efficient and people cut back on driving, the fuel tax that funds most of Washington’s transportation projects isn’t going as far as it used to. The JTC is looking into how the state can best continue funding transportation projects as we move into a new era.

Also on the agenda for today’s meeting is ferry funding. Washington State Ferries will present its final long-range plan, which is the result of three years of intensive study and discussion. The committee will also discuss ferry fares (including, probably, yesterday’s news that the Transportation Commission rejected a proposed summer surcharge).

Stay tuned to JTC’s meetings page to read the agenda and other materials.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Want to be a "Key Communicator" for the Department of Early Learning?

The state Department of Early Learning is currently working on a plan to ensure all children in our state have access to quality early learning opportunities. The goal is to make sure every child starts kindergarten ready to learn. Research overwhelmingly shows that children who start behind, stay behind and investments in early learning save thousands in remedial education and reduce drop-out rates.

Giving all ki
ds a strong start is a pretty ambitious goal and DEL is hoping that parents and educators throughout the state will help. They're recruiting people to sign up as "key communicators," and offer regular feedback on DEL's work.

How does it work? Simply sign up to receive a weekly email with info on DEL's work along with a link to a simple survey so you can share your thoughts. Below is last week's email. This is an interesting way to learn more about one of the most critical efforts underway to strengthen our education system.

Dear members of the Key Communicators Group,

Thank you for your continued work and input as a “key communicator” as our state moves forward with creating an early learning plan.

New information has been added to the early learning plan page on the Department of Early Learning Web site. Please click here to read about how the planning work is being divided into three subgroups: Policy; Indicators; and Financing. You’ll see some of the key questions that the groups are addressing. Please click here to offer your initial input into some of these key questions. Your input will be captured and shared with the planning teams.

Thank you for being part of this effort. Together, we can ensure all Washington children have early learning opportunities that help them start school ready to succeed!