Ross Hunter ’79 left his position as a Washington state representative to head the state’s Department of Early Learning. “The move comes as the state is boosting its commitment to early-learning programs,” reported Joseph O’Sullivan of The Seattle Times.
“There’s really probably no one in this state who has been more attentive and deeper thinking [about early-childhood learning],” said Governor Jay Inslee about Ross in a press conference. “Washington is poised to be a world leader in early learning.”
The Department of Early Learning received a $137 million increase to their budget when the governor signed the Early Start Act.
“The opportunity to improve outcomes for hundreds of thousands of at-risk kids is incredibly compelling,” Ross said. He leaves the legislature after serving thirteen years.
“Ross offers a unique mix of passion for early childhood education, knowledge of early learning policy and the legislative process, and managing experience at Microsoft that we hope will take the Department of Early Learning to the next level for Washington children,” said State Senator Steve Litzow, who chairs the State Senate’s committee on early learning and K-12 education.
The task at hand is to implement a mandatory rating system for licensed child-care facilities that have state funding, to improve teacher training, and be available to help strengthen ratings when necessary.