Archive for the ‘Early educators’ Category

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the Woodland Early Learning Center. Photo Source: U.S. Department of Education Flickr page

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at the Woodland Early Learning Community School. Photo Source: U.S. Department of Education Flickr page

“As our country continues to move forward on the critical task of expanding access to high-quality early learning programs for all children, we must do everything we can to ensure that children with disabilities are part of that,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said earlier this month while he was visiting the Woodland Early Learning Community School in Kansas City.

“Duncan visited the city public school as the first stop on his annual 10-city Back to School bus tour,” the Kansas City Star reports. “This year’s tour, under the theme ‘Ready for Success,’ was set to highlight the importance of including children with disabilities in high-quality early learning programs and to push the importance of community focus on early childhood education.”

To encourage this work, the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have released a “Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children


Preschool programs are generating a lot of news this month, thanks in part to last week’s State House hearing on a number of early education and care bills — including, “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education.”

Here’s a roundup of the coverage, which appeared in print and on television. As always, be sure to join the conversation on Twitter @EarlyEd4All.

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Luchan por educación pre-escolar para todos (Fighting for preschool education for all) 
Telemundo Bostonby Arianne Alcorta, September 17, 2015

This Spanish language broadcast by Telemundo provides coverage of the State House hearing. It includes interviews with Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Joint Committee on Education co-chair Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, and Stand for Children member and parent leader Elsa Flores.

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Here’s Strategies for Children’s statement on yesterday’s release of state MCAS scores.

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In Massachusetts, only 60 percent of third graders are proficient readers, according to the 2015 MCAS results released yesterday. (PARCC results are preliminary and cannot be compared directly to MCAS.)

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education notes that for third grade reading, despite a small increase over 2014, “scores have been essentially flat over the past six years.” 

Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children, commented:

“We are glad to see third grade reading proficiency rates improve slightly, but are troubled by the slow pace of improvement and the fact that scores statewide have remained essentially stagnant since 2001.

To move the needle on this critical benchmark, the state must make larger investments in the birth-to-5 early childhood system. Despite recent state budget increases in early education, Massachusetts’ investment still trails pre-recession spending levels in this area.

Providing high-quality preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds, particularly those from low-income families and communities, would be a huge step in the right direction. The Legislature has the opportunity to do that this session, and we hope our lawmakers will pass a comprehensive pre-K expansion bill.

High-quality pre-K is, however, only one piece of the puzzle. Our community-based infant and toddler programs must be staffed by well-trained, well-compensated educators. In the K-3 grades, literacy curriculum, diagnostic assessments, and professional development must be examined closely and aligned with research-based best practices. Parent engagement and after school / out-of-school-time programming are also essential.

As Education Secretary James Peyser recently stated, “In pursuing our shared goals, we cannot afford to treat early education as an afterthought.”

 No matter what test the state adopts, MCAS, PARCC, or some other option, substantially more children will need to meet reading benchmarks by the end of third grade. The future economic prospects of our commonwealth depend on it.

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Last week at the State House, proposed legislation that would expand and improve early education and care received ringing endorsements from a diverse chorus of supporters during a hearing held by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education.

A standing-room-only audience filled Hearing Room B-1 for more than four hours to support a range of early education bills. Parents and early educators as well as policymakers and advocates explained how high-quality programs taught by well compensated teachers would benefit both children and the state at large.

Secretary of Education Jim Peyser testified first, setting the political scene.

“The overarching education objectives of the Baker-Polito administration are to close the achievement gap and strengthen the global competitiveness of Massachusetts’ workforce and economy,” Peyser said.

“In the context of a single gubernatorial term of office, or even two, there is a temptation to focus narrowly on those parts of the public education system where the weaknesses are most pronounced and the ‘return on investment’ is easiest to measure. This short-term bias often inclines policymakers towards a disproportionate interest in reform and improvement within the K-12 system and higher education. (more…)

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book cover“This book speaks about change and change makers—early educators asking an essential question of conscience: Are we doing the right thing?”

That’s the opening sentence of the dynamic, new book, “The New Early Childhood Professional: A Step-by-Step Guide for Overcoming Goliath.” It’s a sweeping look at how early educators can manage both roiling change and entrenched problems and become the leaders that children — and the country — need them to be.

The book’s authors are Valora Washginton, the chief executive officer of the Council for Professional Recognition and the founder of the CAYL Institute (Community Advocates for Young Learners); Brenda Gadson, the owner of BMG Consulting, and Kathryn L. Amel, CAYL’s associate manager for programs and operations. The book was co-published by Columbia University’s Teachers College Press and the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Now is the time for early educators to lead, according to Jacqueline Jones, president and CEO of The Foundation for Child Development, who wrote in a NIEER blog post, “The hard work of defining the profession requires leadership (more…)

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Photo Source: Gwen Morgan's Facebook page

Photo Source: Gwen Morgan’s Facebook page

We were sad to hear of the recent passing of Gwen Morgan, a long-time early educator and advocate, and a member of our original Early Education for All advisory committee. Gwen was 90 years old and died at her home here in Massachusetts.

In an online tribute, Wheelock College officials called her an “inspirational visionary who just never gave up her fight for quality early education…” Gwen “advocated for every child having high-quality and affordable early education and care. She supported the cause for every practitioner to receive excellent professional development and be compensated adequately.”

Gwen joined Wheelock’s faculty in 1972 and went on to serve as the director of Wheelock’s Center for Career Development in Early Care and Education. She also served as the first director of the Massachusetts Office for Children.

In 1986, she told the Boston Globe about what she called the “trilemma of day care:” the need for higher quality, better wages, and more affordability.

“Four-year-olds are little philosophers, little scientists,” Gwen told the Globe in 1996. “They’re very curious. They want to know how things work, and they want to know why. What they need is someone on their wavelength to answer all their questions because, at this point, they are forming theories that will last them for quite a while.”  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

“Is the most precious thing in your life worth more than a poverty wage?” The Nation asks in a recent article called, “How Childcare Actually Causes Poverty in America.”

In other words, many of America’s young children are in preschool settings being taught and cared for by staff members who earn so little that they’re among the working poor.

“Although we see good early childcare as a way to ameliorate poverty, the fact of the matter is, we are generating poverty in the early childhood workforce,” Marcy Whitebook tells the Nation. She is the head of the University of California-Berkeley’s Center for the Study of Child Care Employment.

“Activists are pushing for a $15 hourly base wage for preschool teachers and childcare workers. Many are currently college grads earning poverty wages, which have basically stagnated for nearly twenty years,” the article says. (more…)

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