Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
How are our kids doing? That’s the question New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) has been asking in a series called “The First Decade: Early Childhood Disparities and the Future of N.H.’s Kids.”
So we’re taking a look at our New England neighbor to get a sense of how some of this region’s children are doing.
“When it comes to kids’ well-being, New Hampshire ranks high overall in survey after survey. But the real picture of how kids are faring goes deeper than that,” NHPR’s website explains. “Children in poor families continue to lose ground in everything from access to health care to quality education to opportunities to play sports.”
Worse, the opportunity gap between children from lower and higher ends of the income spectrum is likely to grow.
“On the whole, we’ve found that while children in New Hampshire are somewhat better off than those across the nation,” the website notes, “New Hampshire still has a growing trend in inequality in terms of poverty and family income, where low-income children and poor children are on the rise after decades of decline and income is pretty much all but stagnated for those in lower income groups in the past 50 years, but it has actually increased for families in higher income groups. This means that more and more, there is this likely growing gap in outcomes between worse- and better-off children in New Hampshire.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Achievement gap, Cost and affordability, Full-day kindergarten, Funding, Health, National, Play, Pre-kindergarten, Research | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
Early on Friday, May 22, 2015, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $38.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2016.
During budget debate, senators approved additional funding for the early education and care provider rate reserve, bringing the Senate total to $5.25 million. In addition, an amendment was adopted to establish a new “Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative:” $500,000 to help communities expand preschool access for 3-year-olds. Amendments to restore funding for full-day kindergarten grants were not adopted, leaving the final Senate budget total at $1 million for this grant program.
Visit our website for a full listing of early education line items and how they compare across budget proposals.
The budget now moves to a six-member conference committee which will negotiate differences between the House and Senate FY16 budgets before sending a final budget to Governor Baker. Stay tuned for next steps.
For more information on early education in the state budget, contact Titus DosRemedios at email@example.com, or (617) 330-7387.
Posted in Full-day kindergarten, MA governor, MA Legislature, MA state budget, Pre-kindergarten | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children
From magnifying glasses and computers to blocks and counting, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) can be a powerful part of early education settings. To capitalize on this potential, Massachusetts has invested in STEM programs, and it is sharing the resulting resources.
In fiscal year 2014, the state budget included $250,000 to develop innovative preschool curriculum with a STEM focus. The Department of Early Education and Care used the money to award five grants to providers and community partners statewide, including the Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, MA, which enrolled 40 students in a new STEM preschool located at the museum.
The resulting resources — curriculum guides and other materials — are published online in English, Spanish, and other languages on the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s STEM Nexus webpage.
The investment in STEM comes at an important time in children’s life. As a Strategies for Children research brief notes:
“Young children are naturally inquisitive learners who ask an average of 76 questions per hour. Young children are also natural scientists—they make sense of the world around them by making predictions, checking them, and using evidence to make inductions and deductions.” Continue Reading »
Posted in MA state budget, Pre-kindergarten, Science & math, Standards and curriculum, Strategies for Children | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children
Racial segregation can start in preschool, according to a new report from Columbia University’s Teachers College that spotlights this disturbing trend.
The report — “A Better Start: Why Classroom Diversity Matters in Early Education” — points to “racial, ethnic, and economic disparities in preschool classrooms across America,” according to a press release, “prompting calls for policymakers to focus on the value of diversity in early education classrooms as a means to increase equity and quality for America’s youngest learners.”
“If every child could be in a high-quality program, we could all go home and not worry about it,” Jeanne Reid told the Washington Post. Reid is a co-author of the report, which was funded by The Century Foundation and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council. “But a lot of programs are not high quality, and low-income children are most likely to be in low-quality programs.”
Instead of letting children from low-income families congregate in inadequate programs, the country should promote equal access to high-quality, research-backed early education programs, the report says. Continue Reading »
Posted in Cost and affordability, Demographics, Funding, Pre-kindergarten, Professional development & preparation, Research | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children
A new poll has found widespread, bipartisan support for expanding pre-K in the commonwealth.
“Massachusetts voters are strongly supportive of spending measures designed to expand access to high-quality pre-K,” according to a memo describing the results of the poll.
“Not only do voters support spending to improve access to pre-K, but they believe the state should invest significant resources in the effort. Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans support spending at least $250 million, as do majorities of every demographic group.”
Voters also “believe expanding access is essential to giving kids from lower-income families a fair chance of keeping up in school.”
The poll is based on a March telephone survey of 605 Massachusetts voters, and designed to be representative of the population of registered voters in the state. The survey was conducted by Anderson Robbins Research, and commissioned by Stand for Children on behalf of the Pre-K for MA Coalition. The coalition — which is led by Strategies for Children and by Stand for Children — “is a coalition of education, business, and civic leaders who know that early education and care can help close the state’s achievement gap and create more opportunities for disadvantaged children.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Funding, MA governor, MA Legislature, MA state budget, Pre-kindergarten, Strategies for Children | Leave a Comment »