Rather than expound on my disappointment of the d?©j?† vu posturing of the Lakewood City Council and the Clover Park School District last Monday night, I would like to offer an idea on how they and we as a community can move forward in a positive, productive effort. Vision: Every child in Lakewood has access to early childhood learning and is “ready to succeed upon entering kindergarten.” Achieving such a vision would have an extraordinary impact on Lakewood. It is a long term approach to improving the quality of our schools and our community on so many fronts.
A coordinated effort by both jurisdictions, providing support, resources, endorsement and structure would mobilize a community looking for leadership on this issue. Early learning is not the responsibility of either entity, eliminating the politics that create barriers to progress. It is new so there is no “baggage.” There seems to be a high level of interest in early learning in our community. If another joint meeting of the Council and School Board was convened to pursue this effort and the community was invited, Hope Center would be filled with “participants” rather than “observers” and they would stay to the end.
Efforts are already underway in our community. United Way, both Pierce and Clover Park Technical colleges, Pierce County Library System, Lakewood’s Promise, Human Services Coalition, Boys & Girls Club, Head Start, Centro Latino, to name only a few. There are funding initiatives for early learning as well. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting community efforts at preschool education for kindergarten readiness. In Lakewood, we have the Clover Park Foundation and private citizens who are seeking long term funding such as endowments to support school readiness for all of our children.
If the City Council and the School Board could come together to put structure and process to all of these individual efforts, we could do something great for our kids, our city and out future.
Bonnie C Boyle
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