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U.S. CapitolYesterday afternoon, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). Last reauthorized in 1996, the Child Care and Development Block Grant is a cornerstone of federal assistance in early childhood education. Most funding for early education and care in Massachusetts comes from CCDBG and other federal sources. It is therefore critical for CCDBG to reflect high-quality program standards, including health and safety standards.

An analysis by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) shows this reauthorization makes the following improvements:

  • Raises the floor for health and safety by requiring any provider who receives CCDBG funds (except relatives) to be subject to licensing, annual inspections and criminal background checks; providers who are license-exempt would be inspected for health and safety;
  • Requires more transparent information for families who are seeking child care options and assistance;
  • Prohibits the use of child assessments for high stakes purposes for children and programs;
  • Raises the minimum states must use for quality from the current 4 percent to 9 percent over the next five years; places additional focus and resources toward quality infant and toddler care; continues to allow states flexibility in the types of innovations and systems work for which they can use CCDBG quality funds with explicit recognition of quality rating and improvement systems, professional development, and support for programs to become accredited;
  • Requires eligibility at minimum of twelve months, regardless of any changes that may occur to a family’s income or work, training, or education status.

While Massachusetts continues to make progress advancing state-level early education policy, this reauthorization is a critical federal component in advancing access for all families to high-quality early education and care.

For more information on CCDBG reauthorization, visit EdCentral.

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Newly released poll results from the Gallup organization show strong public support for preschool.

“Seven in 10 Americans say they favor using federal money to make sure high-quality preschool education programs are available for every child in America,” according to Gallup, which adds:

“Such schooling has great potential benefits for children, instilling academic and social skills at a young age that can aid them throughout their school years. That may be one reason for Americans’ widespread support for the proposal.”

Specifically, the poll asked: “Would you favor or oppose using federal money to increase funding to make sure high-quality preschool programs are available for every child in America?” Continue Reading »

“For many years, early childhood programs focused on what the children need—building their literacy, building their ability to get along with peers, and so forth. More recently, the emphasis has shifted to building the caregiver’s capacity with the idea that if you can address these underlying issues with the caregivers, it’s going to have a cascading effect to the children and impact their development in similar areas as well.”

Philip A. Fisher, psychology professor at the University of Oregon, in the video “FIND: Using Science to Coach Caregivers,” part of the “Innovation in Action” series featured on the website of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Laura Healy

Photo: Courtesy of Laura Healy

Strategies for Children is happy to welcome Laura Healy, our new research and field associate, to the staff. Although Laura’s official first day on the job was last Tuesday, she’s already spent a year working for Strategies as a Boston College intern.

A June 2014 graduate of Boston College and a native of Long Island, NY, Laura arrived on campus with an interest in elementary education and English.

“I envisioned myself in the classroom being a teacher in first, second, or third grade,” she explained in a recent interview.

To this end, Laura has worked as a teacher’s assistant for the infant/young toddler room of the Brookline Schools Staff Children’s Center; and she was a tutor for third and fourth graders of the Read Boston afterschool program at Saint Columbkille Partnership School.

But as her college education progressed, Laura found herself attracted to the world outside the classroom. She majored in English and Applied Psychology and Human Development, which allowed her to focus on a broader range of mental and emotional issues and their affect on the way children learn and develop. Continue Reading »

The Massachusetts state primary election took place yesterday. Below are highlights of the winners of contested races in the 2014 primary elections.

  • Governor Democratic Primary – Martha Coakley
  • Governor Republican Primary – Charlie Baker
  • Lieutenant Governor Democratic Primary – Stephen Kerrigan
  • Attorney General Democratic Primary – Maura Healey
  • Treasurer Democratic Primary – Deborah Goldberg
  • US Representative Sixth District Democratic Primary – Seth Moulton
  • US Representative Fifth District Democratic Primary – Katherine Clark
  • US Representative Ninth District Republican Primary – John Chapman

To learn about the election results in your community and across the commonwealth, visit the elections page of the Boston Globe.

 

 

The 2014 General Election on Tuesday, November 4, is 55 days away. This is the time to remind the candidates that investing in high-quality early education and care is one of your top priorities as a voter.

State HouseIt’s Election Day in Massachusetts, time to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Unfortunately, Secretary of State William Galvin is predicting a low voter turnout, according to the Boston Globe.

“I would be happy to be wrong,” Galvin said at a State House press conference that the Globe covered. “But I am, at this point, skeptical.”

So please, make Galvin happy by proving him wrong: Vote.

 

 

 

Image: Raising of America

Image: Courtesy of the Raising of America project

A new documentary is being released this fall: “The Raising of America: Early Childhood and the Future of Our Nation.” The project, which also includes a multimedia series, “will reframe the way we look at early child health and development,” according to the temporary website.

The project “explores how a strong start for all our kids leads not only to better individual life course outcomes (learning, earning and physical and mental health) but also to a healthier, safer, better educated, more prosperous, and more equitable America.”

In a preview of the documentary, Judith Lichtman, senior advisor for the National Partnership for Women and Families, outlines the national challenge of supporting family. “We talk a good game in this country about being family friendly. But in providing for the economic and social needs of families we are woefully behind other countries.” Continue Reading »

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