“We know — and this is part of the reason why we’re here today — that education has to start at the earliest possible ages. So this budget expands access to the kind of high-quality preschool and other learning programs to give all of our children the same kinds of opportunities that those wonderful children that we just saw are getting right here at Powell.”
President Barack Obama explaining his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal at Powell Elementary School in Washington, D.C. The White House Blog. March 4, 2014
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On Tuesday, President Obama released his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, calling once again for significant new and ongoing investments in high-quality early education and care. The proposal closely mirrored his 2014 budget proposal for preschool. [Congress did not fund that proposal in full, but did include funding increases for early education in the final FY14 budget].
The President’s FY15 budget request includes $75 billion over 10 years — starting with $1.3 billion in 2015 — for mandatory funding for a Preschool for All initiative for four-year-olds. The budget also includes $750 million for competitively awarded Preschool Development Grants, as well as increases for Head Start, home visiting, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Strategies for Children president and CEO Carolyn Lyons applauded the president’s goals. “Once again, President Obama has made high-quality early education a priority in his budget proposal. In addition to state and local funding, federal resources are critical to ensuring that every child has the foundation they need to be successful. We urge Congress to support the president’s request.We also ask the Massachusetts Legislature to continue its support of early education so that the commonwealth is well-poised to take advantage of any federal funds that become available.” Continue Reading »
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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children
A new report published by the Society for Research in Child Development — “Multilingual Children: Beyond Myths and Toward Best Practices” — focuses on “the strength of being multilingual and its benefit for children’s later outcomes and well-being.”
Endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the report draws on more than 100 studies. “The qualitative review concludes that multilingualism is an advantage to be nurtured and maintained rather than a risk factor to be eradicated early in a child’s life,” Education Week explains in a recent review of the report.
In the Education Week piece, Allyssa McCabe, a lead author and a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, debunks two myths covered in the report. Continue Reading »
Posted in English language learners, Family engagement, Language development | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) released its “Annual Legislative Report for 2013.”
Mandated by state law, the report is a useful and detailed resource for early education providers and advocates as well as legislators who want to know more about EEC’s goals and operations.
Created in 2005, EEC is the first “early education and care-focused department of its kind in the nation,” as the report explains. It combines parts of the former Department of Education (now the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) and parts of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.
The report outlines EEC’s five strategic directions, which are:
- “Create and implement a system to improve and support quality statewide.”
- “Increase and promote family support, access and affordability.”
- “Create a workforce system that maintains worker diversity,” provides professional support, and produces strong outcomes for children.
- “Create and implement an external and internal communications strategy” that conveys the value of early education and care, and
- “Build the internal infrastructure” required to achieve this vision.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Assessments, Dept. of Early Education and Care, Early educators, Early Learning Challenge, Family engagement, MA Legislature, QRIS | Leave a Comment »
“Last year alone, 30 states increased funding for early childhood; and one state started a new state preschool program.”
Kentucky Governor Steven Beshear, speaking at the National Governors Association 2014 Winter Meeting, during a session on Innovation in Early Childhood Education, February 23, 2014
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“We’re not interested in glorified babysitting. This has to be about high-quality. And again state leadership here has ben pretty extraordinary. Just a couple of years ago, in 2009, only 17 states operated a quality rating system for preschool programs, 17. Today we’re at 35.”
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, speaking at the National Governors Association 2014 Winter Meeting, during a session on Innovation in Early Childhood Education, February 23, 2014
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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
As Strategies for Children (SFC) has worked to promote reading proficiency by the third grade, we’ve developed and collected effective resources, recommendations and tools that educators across the birth-to-third-grade continuum can use to promote children’s reading success.
Although Massachusetts leads the nation on a number of educational indicators, we have much to do to improve outcomes in third grade reading, a key indicator of future success in school. Test results from the 2013 Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) reveal that 43 percent of this state’s third-graders read below grade level. Among children from low-income families, 65 percent lag in reading. Performance in reading has changed little since 2001, when 38 percent of third graders scored below the proficient standard.
The good news is that schools, towns and cities are working hard to support children’s literacy and language development, beginning at birth. Here is a summary of some of the tools that SFC offers to help ensure that children across the commonwealth become proficient and engaged readers.
Leading the Conversation
Start here, at our webpage “Leading the Conversation: Turning the Page for Reading Success,” to find all the links to our reports, recommendations and resources.
This is where you’ll find a link to the SFC-commissioned report “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success,” by Harvard Graduate School of Education professor Nonie Lesaux. It’s a comprehensive look at literacy challenges in the commonwealth. Continue Reading »
Posted in Pre-K to 3, Reading proficiency, Research, Strategies for Children | Leave a Comment »