Archive for the ‘Head Start’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Looking for insights on how to improve K-12 education? Consider the lessons offered by the early childhood education field, Joan Wasser Gish advises in a recently published Education Week commentary called “Four Lessons from Early Education.”

Wasser Gish is a member of the Board of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care as well as the principal at Policy Progress, a public-policy consulting firm based in Newton, Mass. And from 2005 to 2006, she was Strategies for Children’s director of policy and research.

There are “four lessons that elementary and secondary education could draw from the early-childhood sector as leaders seek to build P-16 systems and re-imagine schools capable of helping all children attain the skills they need to succeed in the 21st-century economy and society,” Wasser Gish writes. These lessons are:

 1. Expand the mission by engaging families.

“In high-quality early-childhood-education settings, the mission is to serve children and their families. This mission takes different forms in each community, but the federal Head Start program, which serves low-income, at-risk children across the nation, is illustrative: Head Start emphasizes developing relationships with families to support parents as their child’s first teacher and promote positive parent-child interactions.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

“Early education is in the spotlight like never before… yet real progress is elusive,” according to a report being released today by the New America Foundation called: “Beyond Subprime Learning: Accelerating Progress in Early Education.”

“President Barack Obama has repeatedly called for increased investments in child care, pre-K, home visiting, and other programs,” the report says. “Thirty-five states entered the federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grants competition, which has so far invested about $1 billion in 20 states’ infrastructure. A long-overdue reauthorization bill for the Child Care and Development Block Grant overwhelmingly passed the Senate this year, with potential in the House.”

In addition, the report notes that philanthropies, governors, and state legislatures increasingly recognize the importance of investing in children.

Nonetheless, the report says, achievement gaps have widened. There aren’t enough seamless transitions from pre-K to grade school. Too many low income children aren’t getting the support they need. And Congress isn’t providing stable funding. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Last week, the Massachusetts Senate Committee on Ways and Means released its budget proposal for fiscal year 2015. Since that time, several amendments to the budget have been filed to increase funding for early education and care, including restoring cuts to Universal Pre-K and Full-Day Kindergarten grants, and funding a rate reserve for early educator salaries, benefits and professional development. Senators will debate these amendments this week.

Massachusetts readers, be sure to contact your senator today to urge their support for early education amendments.

Here is a list of amendments to increase funding for high-quality early education and care in the Senate FY15 budget: (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

A new report, “Building a Foundation for Success,” looks at the unmet preschool needs of children in the commonwealth — and proposes three ways that Massachusetts might expand its preschool programs to create more access.

Released by the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), a nonprofit research organization, the report examines the number of preschool-age children in Massachusetts and the public funding streams that support their enrollment. The report costs out “a range of options for expanding and improving early education and care for these 3- and 4-year-olds in Massachusetts.” The options proposed range in cost from $153 million to $606 million in increased annual state funding on top of what is currently being spent. This increased state funding would be bolstered by non-state sources such as sliding scale parent fees or local education funding, depending on the model used.

“Right now we have a very fragmented system and that leaves many kids without access to any early education at all,” Noah Berger, MassBudget’s president, told the Boston Globe. However, Berger added that there was a growing consensus that a wide expansion of early education options was good for children and for the economy.

Carolyn Lyons, Strategies for Children president and CEO, is encouraged by the report. “This new report by MassBudget builds upon ongoing state and local policy conversations across the commonwealth on how to pay for and structure high-quality universal pre-k. Research shows that high-quality early education has (more…)

Read Full Post »

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

“When Luke gets angry, he tries to remember to look at his bracelet. It reminds him of what he can do to calm himself: stop, take a deep breath, count to four, give yourself a hug and, if necessary, ask an adult for help,” David Bornstein wrote in the recent New York Times blog “Teaching Children to Calm Themselves.”

Only 5 years old, “Luke’s difficulties stem from his earliest experiences. Before and after his birth, his parents regularly used drugs. His mother was unable to attend to him and his father was sent to prison shortly after his first birthday.”

What has helped “Luke” (Bornstein agreed not to use his real name) is a program called Head Start-Trauma Smart “that currently serves some 3,300 children annually in 26 counties in Kansas and Missouri.” The program was developed by the Crittenton Children’s Center, in Kansas City, Mo., which provides psychiatric services to children, adolescents and their families.


Read Full Post »

budgetOn Tuesday, President Obama released his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, calling once again for significant new and ongoing investments in high-quality early education and care. The proposal closely mirrored his 2014 budget proposal for preschool. [Congress did not fund that proposal in full, but did include funding increases for early education in the final FY14 budget].

The President’s FY15 budget request includes $75 billion over 10 years — starting with $1.3 billion in 2015 — for mandatory funding for a Preschool for All initiative for four-year-olds. The budget also includes $750 million for competitively awarded Preschool Development Grants, as well as increases for Head Start, home visiting, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Strategies for Children president and CEO Carolyn Lyons applauded the president’s goals. “Once again, President Obama has made high-quality early education a priority in his budget proposal. In addition to state and local funding, federal resources are critical to ensuring that every child has the foundation they need to be successful. We urge Congress to support the president’s request.We also ask the Massachusetts Legislature to continue its support of early education so that the commonwealth is well-poised to take advantage of any federal funds that become available.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

“The evidence is overwhelming. You’re literally building brain cells when you talk to your child, sing to your child. The reason we’re here is every child, every single child in our country, deserves to have a fair chance to live up to his or her God-given potential.”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking at a Head Start program in East Harlem, The New York Daily News, February 4, 2014


Read Full Post »

Photo: Strategies for Children

Photo: Strategies for Children

“Tell your stories,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said yesterday to a standing-room-only crowd who gathered beneath the flags in the State House’s Great Hall for “Advocacy Day for Early Education and Care and School-Age Programs.”

Carrying signs, pushing strollers, and wearing red — the color advocates were asked to wear for the day — close to 500 early educators and advocates listened to state legislators, advocates, an early education teacher, and a parent.

The event launched with a warm welcome from Leo Delaney, CEO of Ellis Memorial and president of MADCA’s Board of Directors, who told all those assembled, “what we need today more than ever is you,” reaching out to lawmakers and asking them to invest in children’s early education and care.

Bill Eddy, executive director of MADCA, revved up the proceedings, saying “We’re going to make noise because what you do matters so much.”

“Let me begin by thanking you for your advocacy here today,” said Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care. “It’s very important work that you do.”

Then the crowd hit the State House halls, taking DeLeo’s advice and telling their stories to their state senators and representatives.

It was a chance to ask legislators to invest in early education and care and increase the quality and availability of these programs. Read about last year’s day here.

Advocacy Day’s 2014 sponsors are: MADCA; Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs; Massachusetts Head Start Association; Massachusetts Association for Community Action (MASSCAP); Children’s Investment Fund; Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children; Alliance on Teen Pregnancy; Horizons for Homeless Children; Associated Early Care and Education; Massachusetts Child Care Resource and Referral Network; ABCD Boston; Stand for Children; United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley; Thrive in 5; Strategies for Children/Early Education for All Campaign; Massachusetts Fair Share; Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children (MAEYC), For Kids Only Afterschool. (more…)

Read Full Post »

U.S. CapitolOn Monday evening, Congress reached agreement on federal spending through a 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The budget agreement brought exciting news for early childhood, and now we need advocates like you to take action and tell Congress to approve the budget deal.

The Congressional deal could increase funding for early childhood programs by $1.5 billion over post-sequestration levels.  It would be a welcome victory – but only if the House and Senate approve the deal. The bill includes significant increases in funding for early education, despite a very austere budget context.

Please take one minute to send an email to your elected officials and let them know you support early learning.

Phone calls help too. As the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) explains in a policy update, you should ask your representatives to “vote YES on the omnibus appropriations bill. Your calls are important to make sure that all members of Congress support the passage of the bill.”

NAEYC points to the following funding highlights and post-sequestration increases:

- $1.025 billion increase for Head Start, including:

- $400 million for Head Start

- $100 million for COLA

- $25 million for redesignation activities

- $500 million to expand Early Head Start and for new discretionary Early Head Start /Child Care Partnership grants

- $154 million increase for the Child Care & Development Block Grant

- $250 million for the preschool development grants

- $158 million total to maintain the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy grants

- $18 million increase for Part C early intervention grants

- $194 million increase for WIC

In addition to allocating funds, the bill calls on the U.S. Department of Education to collect and share the best research and practices on improving public early learning settings through “planning, design, financing, construction, improvement, operation, and maintenance of safe, healthy, high-performance” facilities.

For more information, visit our partners NAEYC and National Women’s Law Center. Follow us on twitter @EarlyEd4All for additional federal updates as they develop.

Read Full Post »

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Note: Best wishes to all for a happy holiday season. Eye on Early Education will resume publication on January 6, 2014.

*   *   *   *   *

“Yes, there’s a budget deal. But our work is far from over!”

That’s the message the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) is sending about the deal that was made by Budget Committee Chairs Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).

“The total deal is $85 billion. About $45 billion of that replaces sequestration cuts in 2014,” the Washington Post explains in this summary.  The deal, which has been approved by the House and the Senate, would fund the federal government for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

It’s welcome progress, but this deal only patches holes. It does not create new programs.

Now is the time to contact members of Congress and tell them that the country needs new investments in high-quality early education programs that prepare children for lifelong success. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,585 other followers

%d bloggers like this: