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Archive for the ‘Family engagement’ Category

Parents Ursula Allston-Hill and Armando Perez at the Pre-K for MA launch.

Armando Perez and Ursula Allston-Hill at the Pre-K for MA launch.

 

 

“It’s time for Massachusetts to lead once again,” Jason Williams, Massachusetts Executive Director of Stand for Children, said yesterday at a Pre-K for MA kickoff event at the State House.

Led by Strategies for Children and Stand for Children Massachusetts, Pre-K for MA is a coalition of education, business, and civic leaders who know that early education and care can help close the state’s achievement gap and create more opportunities for disadvantaged children.

Attended by parents, early educators, advocates, and several young children, the kickoff event also featured a number of state legislators including Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

Peisch and DiDomenico have co-sponsored a bill — “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education” —that calls on Massachusetts to follow New Jersey’s example by providing “access to high-quality pre-kindergarten programs for 3-and 4-year-olds living in underperforming school districts,” as this fact sheet explains. The bill would set up a grant program; and the grants would be awarded by the Department of Early Education and Care in consultation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  (more…)

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Avg wages stagnated

In 1975, President Gerald Ford signed the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) into law, launching an on-going era of bipartisan support for this powerful anti-poverty tool. Since then, EITC has been a substantial benefit for families with young children.

Now a new report from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) looks at what would happen if Massachusetts expanded its own state-level EITC program, which was launched in 1997.

According to the IRS, the federal EITC is “a benefit for working people who have low to moderate income. A tax credit means more money in your pocket. It reduces the amount of tax you owe and may also give you a refund.”

And as MassBudget explains in its report, the Massachusetts’ EITC “is a refundable tax break provided by the Commonwealth to lower-income workers in order to increase the after-tax rewards to work. It is available only to tax filers with earned income and provides benefits primarily to workers with children…”  (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Federally funded home visiting programs have gotten a vote of confidence from a recent report.

Unfortunately, funding for this important program is being held up in Congress.

“The federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting, or MIECHV, program has supported high-risk families in communities across the country through intensive home visiting services since 2010,” according to the report, “An Investment in Our Future: How Federal Home Visiting Funding Provides Critical Support for Parents and Children.”

Released by CLASP (the Center for Law and Social Policy) and the Center for American Progress, the report is based on interviews with officials from 20 states and two tribal organizations.

Support from the States

The program has widespread local support, as a recent op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune shows:

“Sometimes it can be easy to forget there are such pressing needs in Utah… Our business community, economy, and government regularly receive national recognition for their well-deserved successes,” writes Kirk L. Jowers, the University of Utah’s Director of the Hinckley Institute of Politics.  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Next month, join NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children) for its “Week of the Young Child 2015: Celebrating Our Youngest Learners,” from April 12th to the 18th, 2015.

First established in 1971, the purpose of this annual celebration is to “focus public attention on the needs of young children and their families” and “to recognize the early childhood programs and services that meet those needs.”

Each day of the Week of the Young Child (WOYC) has a different theme:

Music Monday highlights the educational power of songs by inviting children and families to sing along with “Thingamajig,” a tune sung by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band.

Taco Tuesday emphasizes the fun of cooking healthy meals together for good nutrition and to show how cooking can be used to connect math, literacy, and science skills.  (more…)

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Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Schools

Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Schools

We’re excited to congratulate Boston’s newly named school superintendent, Tommy Chang. He supports early education and creative instructional efforts that draw on local resources.

“I think he is a quiet visionary,” Michael O’Neill, chair of the Boston School Committee, told the Boston Globe.

“Dr. Chang will provide the leadership that our school system needs, and I am confident that his innovative views on education will move our students forward,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said. “We need a transformative leader, and that is Tommy Chang.”

The Globe adds, “Chang, 39, has been working for the last three years with more than 130 low-achieving schools as an instructional superintendent in the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Intensive Support and Innovation Center.

“With his experience in the country’s second-largest school district, Chang has gained a reputation for a quick mind, collaborative approach, and a strong conviction that schools should have the flexibility to experiment.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

A new regional training series starts this month. It’s called “New Start: Supporting Multilingual Children and Immigrant & Refugee Families.”

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants and by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), the training series looks at “early learning for these children and meaningful engagement of their parents and communities…” according to an event flier.

The need is considerable. “More than 1 in 4 children in Massachusetts under age 6 live in households that speak a language other than English,” the flier notes.

Presented in partnership with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the series “will equip providers, stakeholders, and other professionals with knowledge on immigration policy, cultural competency, and child development and educational principles in the context of multilingual homes and multicultural environments.”  (more…)

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“Are all of Burlington’s children on the path to a healthy and prosperous future? Compelling scientific research into the brain development of infants and young children shows that the early years of a child’s life are critical to developing the skills necessary to become a thriving adult. A lack of household economic resources is the single largest indicator for a host of poor childhood educational and health outcomes…

“By focusing on parent mentoring in combination with a market-driven scholarship approach to early education, we can we can strengthen Burlington’s future by providing our youngest with a healthy start.”

From “Burlington Beginnings: A White Paper on a Comprehensive, Coordinated Sustainable Early Learning Initiative,” January, 2015, a summary of early education plans in Burlington, Vt.

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