“According to the 2012 MCAS results, 40% of Massachusetts third graders, including 60% of children from low income families, are not proficient readers. This rate has remained stagnant for the past decade. The vast majority of these children will continue to struggle in school and beyond. If we as a commonwealth do not make significant new investments to increase access to and improve the quality of early education and care, we will not change this trajectory.”
Carolyn Lyons, President and CEO of Strategies for Children, from her statement on the Senate Ways and Means FY14 budget, May 15, 2013
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Yesterday, the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee released its $33.9 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2014. This proposal represents a $1.4 billion increase over FY13 spending levels, while $67.5 million less than the FY14 budget passed by the House and $904 million less than the governor’s budget proposal.
The Senate committee’s proposal includes $490 million for the Department of Early Education and Care, roughly $13 million more than the House’s budget. The committee provides $15 million for a new line item dedicated to addressing the waitlist for income-eligible early education and care. The Senate proposal however also makes cuts to Universal Pre-k, Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grants, Reach Out and Read, and Full-Day Kindergarten grants.
Strategies for Children president Carolyn Lyons issued the following statement:
“The Senate Ways and Means budget released today provides a new line item of $15 million to decrease the waitlist for early education and care for children from income eligible families. While this new line item is a step in the right direction — providing an estimated 2,000 young children with subsidies — there are currently more than 30,000 infants, toddlers, and preschoolers seeking state aid for early education programs.
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State Representative Jennifer Benson at the Thomas C. Passios School in Lunenburg, reading “My Side of the Mountain.”
Photo: #mapoli Reading to Class
Parents aren’t the only ones reading to kids. Take a look at #mapoli Reading To Class. It’s a Tumblr site featuring photographs of politicians reading to children across the commonwealth. Curated by David S. Bernstein, the site features state Senator Marc Pacheco reading “The Lorax” to fifth graders at the Henry B. Burkland School in Middleborough. Attorney General Martha Coakley read “The Sneetches” to students at Malden’s Cheverus School. And there’s State Senator Jim Timilty at the Cottage Street School in Sharon reading “Interrupting Chicken” to second graders.
Massachusetts readers, is an elected official coming to read to children in your program or school? Email a photo to David Bernstein at firstname.lastname@example.org , and he’ll post it on the site.
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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children
Today we congratulate the center- and school-based early education programs in Massachusetts that have earned accreditation or reaccreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children since February 19, 2013. We also offer congratulations to the family child care providers in Massachusetts who have earned accreditation or reaccreditation from the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) since the beginning of 2013.
To those who have earned accreditation or reaccreditation, NAEYC offers a marketing and communications tip: Spread the word to your local newspapers and media outlets. Accredited programs can find a news release template in their program record. This is a great way to publicize your accomplishment and highlight the importance of high-quality early learning settings.
NAEYC accreditation is a widely accepted proxy for quality, and Massachusetts boasts more NAEYC-accredited programs than any other state in the country. The Department of Early Education and Continue Reading »
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Photo: National Women’s Law Center
Imagine 10,000 letters being delivered to President Obama at the White House to thank him for his bold proposal on expanding pre-k across the country.
That’s the project that the National Women’s Law Center is working on, encouraging early education advocates to write to the president. Center officials say they want to let the president know that he was heard. The center will pick a date to deliver the letters and take pictures of the event. Willing writers can submit their letters here.
“The President’s plan does three incredibly important things,” the law center explains here. “It expands voluntary home visiting programs that support and educate parents, increases availability of high-quality child care for infants and toddlers and gives all children in low- and moderate-income families access to high-quality prekindergarten programs.”
Now that the word is out, the project has grown bigger. Letters and artwork made by children, parents and providers have been pouring in from around the country. The delivery to the White House is likely to include closer to 30,000 letters – as well as some ambitious art projects, including a four-foot tall dream catcher.
“You know who is excited about this plan?” the center’s blog says of the letters project, “KIDS (and their parents who understand Continue Reading »
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“Most states cut funding, but some states moved in the other direction. Wisconsin’s an example of a state that added 5,000 new slots for preschoolers during the recession. Right now, Governor Patrick in Massachusetts and Governor Snyder in Michigan have both proposed massive, multi-year increases in preschool, really bucking the trend. And a number of other states, Alabama’s an example of the state that is pushing forward with modest increases despite difficult times.”
W. Steven Barnett, Director of the National Institute for Early Education Research, on National Public Radio, May 6, 2012
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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children
Children’s vocabulary is a key ingredient of learning to read with comprehension, but recent research finds limited instruction in vocabulary in kindergarten – and too little to enable children with small vocabularies to close the vocabulary gap that is evident long before they begin school.
Susan B. Neuman, a professor in educational studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and Tanya S. Wright, an assistant professor of teacher education at Michigan State University in East Lansing, analyzed observations of 55 kindergarten teachers’ instruction in a variety of school districts. They found limited instruction in vocabulary in most settings, but low-income children were least likely to be taught the kind of sophisticated, academic words that will help them succeed in school
“Vocabulary is a deceptively simple literacy skill that researchers and educators agree is critical to students’ academic success, but which has proved frustratingly difficult to address,” Education Week reports. “By age 3, when many children enter early preschool, youngsters from well-to-do families have a working vocabulary of 1,116 words, compared to 749 words for children in working-class families and 525 words for children on welfare, according to a seminal 2003 longitudinal study by Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley, authors of the 1995 book ‘Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children.’
“The consensus among researchers and educators has been that students must close such vocabulary gaps to succeed academically and deal with rigorous content. Continue Reading »
Posted in Language development, Reading proficiency, Research | 2 Comments »