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Archive for the ‘Achievement gap’ Category

Andy Hargreaves, professor  at Boston College's Lynch School of Education. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Andy Hargreaves, professor at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

“The moment is ripe for more deliberate action in the early childhood sphere in Massachusetts,” according to a new report from the Rennie Center, a nonprofit organization that focuses on education research and policy.

The annual report — “Condition of Education (COE) in the Commonwealth Report: Priority Actions for a Statewide Agenda” — includes a data report and a policy action guide. Several research and policy organizations, including Strategies for Children, served on the report’s advisory committee.

Rennie released the report at a standing-room-only event at the Omni Parker Hotel that brought together Jim Peyser, the state’s new secretary of education with the chairs of the Boards of the Departments of Early Education and Care; Elementary and Secondary Education; and Higher Education.

The report “highlights what works now,” Pendred Noyce, chair of Rennie’s board, said at the Omni Parker event, explaining that the report points to successful programs that could be replicated to improve educational outcomes across the state. (more…)

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What are the next steps in education reform? Paul Reville, former secretary of education in Massachusetts, answers the question in a recent Boston Globe op-ed.

“When the education reform bill was enacted in the early 1990s, its main goal was to educate all students to high levels. And all meant all,” Reville writes.

Currently a professor of “practice of educational policy and administration” at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Reville has had time to reflect on the state’s challenges and opportunities.

He notes that Massachusetts will have to spend more on “specialized services, including early childhood education.” He also writes that early education is among “the strategies that the state needs to develop over the next few years.”

Read the Globe article to learn more about how Massachusetts can ensure that “all means all.”

To hear Reville discuss “All Means All,” check out this short, informative video. It’s part of Harvard Ed School’s 8 for 8 series.

Reville is also the director of Harvard’s Education Redesign Lab, which “is focused on building a new education ‘engine’ that will ensure economically disadvantaged students have a fair chance of mastering the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the 21st century and of closing historic achievement gaps.”

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

During last month’s White House Summit on Early Education, the Obama Administration released a new public policy tool, the “Playbook for Becoming an Early Learning Community.”

The playbook offers communities “strategies for local leaders to develop and expand early education in their communities,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It’s part of the president’s national early learning agenda called “Invest in US.”

The playbook should be a helpful resource to local communities — both here in Massachusetts and across the nation — that are working to improve early learning and kindergarten readiness.

As the playbook explains, “An Early Learning Community works together to deliver measurable improvements in the lives of its youngest children. It provides all (more…)

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Chris Martes

Chris Martes

Chris Martes, Strategies for Children’s president and CEO, has a new article out in the latest edition of CommonWealth Magazine.

In “A chance to lead on early education,” Martes writes that Massachusetts can be a national role model by building strong pre-K programs. This would prepare more children for lifelong success and set an example for other states.

“From the White House to business boardrooms to the offices of scores of Republican and Democratic mayors, governors, and members of Congress, we’re seeing historic momentum on expanding and improving preschool programs,” Martes writes.

“It is in this spirit of historic potential that we welcome Gov. Charlie Baker to the State House. He and his team have the opportunity to break new ground.”

Pre-K Helps Improve K-12

“The Commonwealth needs strong K-12 schools. But having served for nearly two decades as a school superintendent and as an interim superintendent in five Massachusetts communities, I can tell you that K-12 schools cannot reform education on their own,” Martes explains. “There’s too much work to do. Too many achievement gaps are already in place on the first day that children walk into kindergarten.  (more…)

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“Our actions will be heard in many ways. But the loudest of these actions will initially be in dealing with an immediate budget deficit, building a job-creating economy, closing the achievement gap, confronting opiate addiction and revitalizing our urban centers.”

Governor Charlie Baker in his inauguration speech, January 8, 2015

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“Consider this: If we were to put the right policies and resources in place we can make sure every child born is given the support he or she needs, from prenatal care to early childhood education to quality schools and higher education opportunities free of crushing debt, we could transform the Commonwealth in a generation. In a quarter century, we could dramatically diminish many of the problems that saddle both individuals and the Commonwealth as [a] whole: chronic unemployment, workforce shortages, lack of opportunity. In their place: a generation of fully employed, prosperous young people, imbued with a sense of opportunity and possibility. A generation sharing in our collective prosperity.”

Massachusetts State Senator President Stanley C. Rosenberg’s address to the State Senate, January 7, 2015

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SchoolQuality_fig5Why does the country need a federal investment in preschool? The Center for American Progress says:

Research indicates that access to quality preschool can provide a boost for children that will influence their success for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, not every child has access to high-quality early education, and many of children who could benefit do not attend preschool. This is particularly true for low-income children and children of color.”

The center makes its case in six charts that look at how race and income affect children’s preschool experiences.

“The longer policymakers wait to invest in American children, the less likely it is that they will achieve their full potential.”

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President Obama hugs Alajah, the third-grader who introduced him at the summit.  Photo: The White House.

President Obama hugs Alajah Lane, the third-grader who introduced him at the summit. Photo: The White House

Yesterday was a historic day at the White House. President Obama hosted an early education summit that included an announcement about increased resources for young children and families.

The White House Summit on Early Education brought together a wide range of stakeholders — mayors, school superintendents, members of Congress, philanthropists, funders, and corporate and community leaders — who shared their work on providing high-quality preschool programs.

And President Obama announced that states had won over $1 billion in early childhood grant awards. The president also announced an additional $330 million in private funding.

“Early education is a win for everyone,” Obama said in his summit speech. High-quality programs give children a strong start and they save taxpayer dollars. And as Obama pointed out, progress has been bipartisan. Red and blue states including Oklahoma and Georgia and New York and New Jersey have boosted their commitment to high-quality preschool.  (more…)

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