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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Understanding the importance of the birth-to-third-grade continuum, school districts are leading efforts to strengthen programming and create better alignment between preschool and grade school programs.

One example is California where some school districts are reaching beyond their K-12 responsibilities to “to meet the needs of the youngest low-income children who live within their district boundaries – infants and toddlers,” according to an Edsource article.

These efforts are happening against a backdrop of state support. Last month, Governor Jerry Brown signed a fiscal year 2016 budget that “includes over $300 million in increased investments and important policy developments for early care and education,” according to the nonprofit advocacy organization Early Edge California.

But there’s still a lot of work for to be done, and not enough funding to do it.  (more…)

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“At the current growth rate, it would take about 75 years for states to enroll just 50 percent of their 4-year-olds in preschool and 150 years to reach 70 percent enrollment. In the nine states that do not fund preschool at all, it would take even longer.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s op-ed, “Increase access to quality preschool,” in the The Hill, June 9, 2015

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“There is a new beginning in California for economic development and ending mass incarceration. Yesterday, Gov. Jerry Brown agreed to allot an additional $265 million to fund 7,000 additional preschool slots and 6,800 child care slots, plus a rate increase for all providers. It’s a major step forward for the state we call home.”

Joseph DiSalvo’s op-ed, “Silicon Valley Coalition Plays Key Role in Funding Early Education,” in San Jose Inside, June 17, 2015

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“Don’t you think they grow up pretty fast for being two.”

Seattle Nursing Home Resident in a video clip made by filmmaker Evan Briggs and featured in the ABC News story “Seattle Preschool in a Nursing Home ‘Transforms’ Elderly Residents,” June 16, 2015

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Mayor Michael A. Nutter. Photo Source: City of Philadelphia Flickr account.

Mayor Michael A. Nutter. Photo Source: City of Philadelphia Flickr account.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter has just released an exciting and sweeping plan to revitalize his city’s early learning programs. It’s a detailed effort that could also serve as a blueprint for other cities.

Called “A Running Start Philadelphia: For Every Child Birth to 5,” the plan is a path toward ensuring that all of the city’s children are ready to succeed in school.

“What happens — or doesn’t happen — from infancy to the time a child enters kindergarten can set the course for his or her whole life,” the plan says. “And what happens — or doesn’t happen — in the first five years of life for Philadelphia’s 110,000 children can set the course for the long-term future of our entire city.”

One daunting obstacle is poverty.

“Two years ago, the City unveiled Shared Prosperity Philadelphia, a comprehensive plan that brings together hundreds of individuals and organizations to address our city’s unacceptable poverty level,” the plan says, adding that early learning is “a critical component of the plan” to avoid “passing on the crippling legacy of poverty to a new generation…” (more…)

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Ralph Smith at CGI America.  Photo Source: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading's Twitter page.

Ralph Smith at CGI America.
Photo Source: Campaign for Grade-Level Reading’s Twitter page.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) made news last week at the annual Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America) meeting.

CGLR was featured on stage at CGI America in acknowledgement of its plans to “launch the More Hopeful Futures Initiative in 2017… the next phase of a decade-long effort to increase reading proficiency among children from low-income families,” according to a news release.

CGLR has bold plans for boosting children’s reading abilities.

“Over the next three years, the planned pre-launch activities will reach at least 50,000 children with an enhanced package of screenings and supports designed to accelerate ongoing efforts to improve school readiness, school attendance, and summer learning.”

CGLR is “committing $30 million, in tandem with close to 40 partners, to help increase third grade reading proficiency for 50,000 children by 2018,” a CGI America press release adds.

How CGI America and the Grade-Level Reading Campaign are Working Together

Sponsored by the Clinton Foundation, which was founded by former President Bill Clinton, “CGI America brings together leaders from the business, philanthropic, NGO, and government sectors to develop solutions for economic growth, long-term competitiveness, and social mobility in the United States.” (more…)

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Laura Polanco

Laura Polanco

This is a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Laura Polanco, and I work full-time for Worcester Child Development Head Start as a Family Service Associate. I also work part-time for Worcester Family Partnership, helping to facilitate literacy-based playgroups and as a home visitor for the Parent Child Home Program. I have been in the early education and care field for 11 years. During these years, I have held several different positions: a parent volunteer, assistant teacher, teacher, and coach/mentor.

I am still working on my own education. I am blessed to be involved in two programs as I work towards my master’s degree. The first program is a partnership between Quinsigamond Community College and Worcester State University that grants a Leadership Certificate. The other program is Worcester State University’s Improving Teacher Quality Grant. Without these options, I would not be able to financially acquire my Master’s degree. Programs like these help make us stronger educators so that we can provide a high-quality early education to children.

Early childhood sets the foundation for a child’s learning. Just like a house needs a strong foundation to be able to stay up, so does a child. I feel these early years are very crucial in setting the stage for each child to be an immersed learner as they grow. We empower these children to believe and accomplish anything they set out for. These are the most important years of a child’s life. We need to make sure their foundation can endure anything that life may bring their way and that they come out stronger than ever. (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Last December, Massachusetts was awarded a $15 million federal Pre-K Expansion grant for five communities: Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield.

Now that six months have passed, we decided to check in with Anita Moeller to see how this grant-funded work is going. Moeller is the director of the expansion grant program at the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC).

It’s a busy season of laying groundwork, Moeller explained. The five communities are working on budgets, identifying teachers, outfitting new spaces, and submitting their final plans to federal authorities.

As EEC Commissioner Tom Weber wrote last fall in the state’s application for this funding, “The Federal Preschool Expansion Grant has inspired Massachusetts to think boldly and to offer a plan that engages and leverages the strengths of the Massachusetts mixed-delivery system to reach more children and advances our goal of achieving a universally-accessible, high-quality system of early education and care.”  (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Early education is a proven way to help children succeed, but a key challenge for policymakers is figuring how to pay for these programs.

That’s why the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) has just released a discussion guide on “State Financing Strategies for Early Education and Care Systems.” The guide helps policymakers understand which investment strategies could work in their communities.

When it comes to early education, policymakers often face two persistent financing problems.

First, “it is more often the case that available funding, rather than the true costs of quality programs, determine funding decisions,” and second, policymakers often lack “a comprehensive picture of all the available resources that could be utilized for a given program because of the generally siloed nature of funding (e.g., by agency or funding stream rather than by goal or service).”

So while “some state and local investments are increasing,” other states are not “investing sufficient dollars to ensure all children have access to high-quality programs.”  (more…)

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