Archive for the ‘Election’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The gubernatorial election is heating up and as the candidates debate the issues, early education is getting plenty of well-deserved attention.

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, it will be up to voters to pick the next governor, but once they do, we’ve got good advice for the man or woman who gets elected.

A Strategies for Children brief called, “Early Education Policy Opportunities for the Next Governor,” provides essential next steps that Massachusetts should take.

Massachusetts is a leader in early education. In 2005, the state established the Department of Early Education and Care. In 2010, the state won a federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant. And thanks to years of work, the state has built a foundation for a system of high-quality early education that aligns with the K-12 system.

To keep up, however, Massachusetts must close nagging opportunity gaps so that all children have the chance to first become kindergarten-ready and go on to become proficient third grade readers who can succeed in school and life.

So, what has to be done?

“As momentum for pre-kindergarten funding builds at the federal level, state policymakers should continue to build a high-quality early learning system in

Massachusetts so we will be prepared to take advantage of federal opportunities,” the brief explains.

Some key economic and demographic facts:

• “Massachusetts has the most expensive child care costs in the nation, averaging nearly $12,000 per year for a 4-year-old.”

• “There are 752,774 children age 9 and younger living in Massachusetts, including nearly 450,000 under six.”

• “An estimated 60 percent of preschool age (3- and 4-year-old) children are enrolled in a formal early education and care program, but in our core urban areas the rate is much lower.” As our “preschool pie chart” shows, parent fees still make up a majority of the funding base for early education and care.

Among the steps the next governor should take to improve preschool:

• “Provide access to high-quality early education for all children, beginning with those from low-income families on the state’s subsidy waitlist, and the high need populations in our Gateway Cities.”

• “Ensure that all programs meet quality standards by channeling quality support funding through the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.”

To improve kindergarten readiness, the next governor should:

• “Work with state agencies, researchers, and practitioners to establish a statewide, developmentally appropriate definition of kindergarten readiness.”

• “Leverage data to monitor individual children’s development and resource connectivity through a statewide database.”

• To boost third grade reading proficiency, the next governor should:

• “Support the forthcoming recommendations of the Early Literacy Expert Panel, established in state law through An Act Relative to Third Grade Reading Proficiency (2012).”

• “Establish best practices in early literacy professional development for adults working with children birth-8, so that costly efforts are aligned, research-based, data driven, and lead to continuous improvement.”

To read more about how the next governor could give the state’s children a vibrant start, read the brief. And when our new governor is elected, please tell him or her that strong leadership is essential if Massachusetts is going to have an educational system that helps our youngest children grow into capable, productive adults.

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Massachusetts Primary Results

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.

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GOV Forum logoCouldn’t make it to our gubernatorial candidates forum? Catch up with our Storify version of the event. It’s a collection of tweets that sketches the forum’s social media story. This Storify includes photos and one original work of art.

Be sure to follow Strategies for Children on Twitter @EarlyEd4All. And remember to keep tweeting the candidates during election season. Let them know that early education and care should be one of their top priorities.

The candidates’ Twitter handles:

Joe Avellone                  @AvelloneForGov

Charlie Baker                @CharlieforGov

Don Berwick                 @berwickforMA

Martha Coakley             @marthacoakley

Evan Falchuk                @efalchuk

Mark Fisher                   @markfisher2014

Steve Grossman            @SteveGrossmanMA

Juliette Kayyem            @juliettekayyem

Jeff McCormick              @JMacForGov


Other useful handles and hashtags:








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GOV Forum logoIn a forum at UMass Boston on Saturday, eight of the candidates in the Massachusetts race for governor made news by agreeing that the commonwealth should improve the quality of preschool programs and expand access to them.

This consensus adds to the growing political support for early education and care both here in Massachusetts and nationally. Ten years ago, research on the benefits of high-quality pre-k were not widely understood, nor part of the public discourse. Today, policymakers and candidates understand that these programs are essential first steps in educating children and preparing them to succeed in the state’s high-tech economy.

Sponsored by Strategies for Children and more than two dozen other organizations (see program agenda for full sponsor list), the “Early Childhood and Education: Closing the Achievement and Opportunity Gaps – 2014 Gubernatorial Candidates Forum” gave candidates the opportunity to share their vision for educating the state’s youngest children. It was a chance to hear how the next governor of Massachusetts might reshape the landscape of early education and care. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

As we wrote last week in Part One of this blog, the Ninth Annual Wheelock Community Dialogue on Early Education and Care called on the field to: unite; develop an agenda; and tell a compelling story that will inspire policymakers — especially the next governor of Massachusetts — to commit to a grand plan for improving the commonwealth’s early education and care system.

Interactive Dialogue Groups

After the keynote speakers, the audience broke into smaller interactive dialogue groups that covered a range of topics, including:

- family engagement

- assessments

- infants and toddlers

- play


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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

“I’d like to welcome our commissioner who has come… We are thrilled to see so many of our Wheelock alums… Mayor Clare Higgins is back by popular demand!” said Wheelock College President Jackie Jenkins-Scott as she welcomed all the participants who came to her school for the “Ninth Annual Community Dialogue on Early Education and Care: Our Children’s Future — Time for a New Plan.”

Higgins, the former mayor of Northampton, attended last year’s dialogue; and this year she was joined by advocates, educators, and policy analysts who spoke to an audience of 200 about how best to bring high-quality early education and care to more of Massachusetts’ children.

The goal for the day was reinforced throughout the three-hour event: Unite; develop an agenda; and tell a compelling story that will inspire policymakers — especially the next governor of Massachusetts — to commit to a grand plan for improving the commonwealth’s early education and care system. (more…)

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walsh 1

Boston’s Mayor-elect Marty Walsh
Photo: Strategies for Children

Two new mayors will take the oath of office in both Boston and New York. So expect to see these men — Marty Walsh and Bill de Blasio — change the face of education in their cities, a news story in Education Week advises.

“Both cities’ school systems are under mayoral control. Both new mayors will select new executives to run the schools,” the article says. “And both cities still have enormous education challenges to tackle. Large achievement gaps—including in graduation rates—stubbornly persist between black and Latino students and their white and Asian peers.”

As Mayor Thomas Menino leaves office and Walsh steps in, look for “more subtle changes to the 57,000-student school system, which has generally experienced less upheaval in its school improvement efforts than other major urban districts,” the Education Week article says. (more…)

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