Kitzhaber Speaks on Early Education

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EUGENE, Ore. — Oregon’s governor says not enough kids are at the learning level they need to be when they enter kindergarten.

Governor Kitzhaber was in Eugene Thursday to talk about recent statewide statistics.

The quality rating and improvement system went statewide in March. Since then, 39 early learning programs have received star ratings and more than 540 facilities have committed to improving their quality.

One of those is Friendship House Preschool in Eugene.

Governor Kitzhaber got a first-hand look at the school Thursday and even helped some kids with some planting in their garden.

The school has separate areas when kids can engage learn and just have fun with their classmates.

The rating system looks at everything hygiene, healthy eating and fitness, to education of staff to even how the schools encourage diversity.

Governor Kitzhaber says this program will take more of a financial committment, but he wants to see it grow.

“An investment in this kind of a program gives those kids just an enormous boost,” Governor Kitzhaber said.

“It is also difficult for kindergarten teachers to teach children if they are not on a level playing field. I mean if they are having to start from very rudimentary work what happens,” said Patricia Schwab, Friendship House owner.

The schools get financial incentives to participate in the program. It costs about $550 a month to attend that facility. Nearly 20,000 children are enrolled in the program.

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