Normally we at WAPIE are very focused on federal issues but this worsening statewide problem needs to be exposed for what it is. You will recall two years ago the passage of HB 1491 “The Early Start Act” which firmly entrenched Baby Core for its Birth To 4 program. We will summarize what the main problems and issues were with 1491, as indicated by other parent subject matter experts:
HB 1491 essentially makes pre-CCSS mandatory in childcare facilities and preschools that receive state subsidy payments. Providers serving low income families would go out of business if they couldn’t receive state subsidy payments because so many of their families qualify. UNLESS they participate in the state’s Early Achievers program. But that’s the point, isn’t it?
Early Achievers is essentially WaKIDS for birth to 4. A stated goal of this bill is to align early childhood facilities with the WaKIDS assessment which, of course, is to align with Common Core. Unique programs like Waldorf and Montessori would NOT be able to remain true to their philosophies and align to these state standards. But that’s also the point, isn’t it? Commonality.
In order to know if each birth to 4-year old is effectively being prepared for the “rigors” of kindergarten, they must have data, and they’re willing to shut private small businesses down to get it. The Early Achievers program is essentially WaKIDS for preschools and childcare facilities. The bill made Early Achievers mandatory for any public OR PRIVATE childcare home or center receiving state subsidy payments. Child care centers will be rated based on how well they align their program to WaKIDS. It’s esssentially the pre-Common Core State Standards when kids are by no means common even in the Birth to 4 age group.. If child care centers do not align successfully within the schedule set by the state, they lose their subsidy payments. That’s extortion with unfettered power by the Department of Early Learning. How convenient that 1491’s biggest champion became the executive director of the DEL!
Many of us in our Common Core information groups believe this to be a Progressive scheme leading to more Government control.
1) Implementation of “Baby Core”
2) Data collection of ALL children beginning Prenatally
3) One-Size-Fits-All mandated curriculum
4) Ushering in of a public Birth to 5 education system
5) Decreased access to Childcare Options for families
Fast forward to 2017 for new HB 1661 which merges merge the Dept of Early Learning and Child Protective Services. Proponents cite that instead of creating new programs, the governor’s plan is to reorganize existing programs so they could be deployed more efficiently. Under the measure, the Department of Early Learning would merge with Child Protective Services. Currently, child protective services are administered by the Department of Social and Health Services.
The bill is 256 pages and subject matter experts state that the blending of these agencies is not a good idea; however, it also incorporates the juvenile system. Meaning, all three agencies would then collaborate together to make future choices for children and families. It removes a huge amount of checks and balances, not to mention increased funds to operate it.
How far will the state of Washington go? Dept of Early Learning already wants home visits for EVERY child in the state. What if they see something they don’t like? Call CPS? What if you want to opt your child out of the WA Kids and the school calls CPS? The intent of DEL is to oversee every family, all children, no matter your economic status. As of now, this bill sounds like the next step in gaining that control. CPS becoming a part of early childhood education and development is an issue. This really needs to be watched and researched.
While opponents admit there can be a good aspects to this bill- the fact is, Government invasion of parental decisions like education (when, where, how, and consequences if parents don’t adhere) are something we really need to fight to prevent. CPS being involved in any way is intimidating to say the least, they are already being used to force parental conformation in medical and school decisions without being a part of early childhood education.
We appreciate the parent subject matter experts who have shed light on this issue with the information in this blog post. Please read the info links below and do your own research for the monstrosity this will become along with the fiscal note concerns that it brings.