Championing Early Learning

The evidence is clear that early childhood education programs are the very best investment of our tax dollar. Kids who are not ready for kindergarten fall behind right away and need extensive remedial education, and are more likely to drop out of school later, costing all of us to clean up the mess at the other end.  Roger has been a leader in the Legislature in enacting bills to expand access to high-quality early learning programs for all of Washington’s kids, helping to ensure that pre-school programs are available to kids at risk, helping them prepare for success in school and in life. In 2010 Roger authored the “Ready for School Act,” HB 2731 (Chapter 231, Laws of 2010), a landmark piece of legislation establishing a new statewide program of early childhood education, to be fully phased in by the 2021 school year as an entitlement for all three- and four-year olds in the state. That bill also preserved the existing capacity and funding for the state’s early learning program, one of the only programs that was not cut during the “Great Recession.” Roger has been repeatedly named “Champion for Children” by the Children’s Alliance and has twice received their highest honor, the “Gold Crayon Award”. Roger has also been named a “Champion for Education” by the League of Education Voters for his work to expand early learning in Washington.