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Archive for the ‘MA governor’ Category

State HouseIn January, Governor Patrick released his $36.4 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2015. The governor’s plan included $531.74 million for programs administered by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), including $15 million in new funds to provide program access to preschool age children on the state’s Income Eligible waitlist.

On April 9, the House Committee on Ways and Means released its FY15 budget. The proposal includes $515.25 million for EEC and its programs, which is less than the governor’s proposal, but still a modest increase relative to FY14 appropriation levels. Increases are distributed primarily across the traditional three early education access accounts (Supportive, TANF, Income Eligible) as well as $7.5 million in a separate Income Eligible waitlist reduction account. The Governor’s proposal for K1 pre-kindergarten classroom grants ($2 million) was not funded in the House Ways and Means budget. Services for Infants and Parents (3000-7050) which funds EEC’s Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grants was cut by $2 million.

In addition, the House Ways and Means budget provides level funding relative to FY14 appropriations for several key programs including Universal Pre-K, Head Start, Access Management, Mental Health, and Reach Out and Read.

In a State House News story, House Ways and Means Chairman Brian Dempsey said that there would be an opportunity for lawmakers to debate whether they’d like to commit additional resources to early education. He said, “We always want to do more and we did our very best out of the gate, but my good friends and colleagues behind me and those who will be debating the budget the week of the 28th will continue to try to improve upon the document and improve upon the proposal, but I think we are clearly committing to all areas of education.” The House budget debate is scheduled to take place the week of April 28.

Representatives have until Friday, April 11 at 5pm to file amendments to the House Ways and Means budget. Stay tuned for information about amendments and what you can do to support young children and families.

Below is a review of early education and related programs where funding proposals differ across House Ways and Means, Governor Patrick’s proposal, and FY14 spending:

  • EEC Administration (3000-1000)
    HWM: $13.26 million
    Governor: $13.67 million
    FY14: $12.93 million
  • Supportive Child Care (3000-3050)
    HWM: $79.73 million
    Governor: $81.24 million
    FY14: $76.99 million
  • Income Eligible Waitlist Reduction (3000-4040)
    HWM: $7.5 million
    Governor: $15 million
    FY14: $15 million (under 3000-4070)
  • TANF (3000-4050)
    HWM: $133.48 million
    Governor: $136.55 million
    FY14: $128.06 million
  • Income Eligible (3000-4060)
    HWM: $241.89 million
    Governor: $241.89 million
    FY14: $222.84 million
  • K1 Classroom Grant Program (3000-5025)
    HWM: not funded
    Governor: $2 million (new initiative)
  • Services for Infants and Parents (3000-7050)
    HWM: $16.16 million
    Governor: $18.16 million
    FY14: $18.16 million
  • Full-Day Kindergarten Grants (7030-1002)
    HWM: $23.95 million
    Governor: $27.05 million
    FY14: $23.95 million

For more information on the FY15 budget process, please contact Titus DosRemedios, director of research and policy, at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org

 

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

In the latest issue of The Gateway Cities Journal, which is published by MassINC, Holyoke Pubic Schools Superintendent Sergio Páez wrote the lead article on early education. MassINC has increasingly supported high-quality early education in the Gateway Cities, as it does in its recent policy report — “The Gateway Cities Vision for Dynamic Community-Wide Learning Systems.”

For today’s blog, we’re reposting Páez’s piece, courtesy of MassINC:

“The Early Education Drumbeat Reverberates in Gateway Cities”

By Sergio Páez

From President Obama and Governor Patrick to House Speaker Robert DeLeo, our elected leaders are launching into 2014 with calls for new investments in high-quality early education. Big city mayors like Marty Walsh and Bill de Blasio are fighting hard to expand preschool access. As the New York Times reported this week, Republicans and business leaders are also increasingly supportive of efforts to expand public investment in early education. (more…)

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hubKara Miller, host of the WGBH radio’s Innovation Hub, recently did two interviews that show how science, public policy, and personal history can intersect.

In one segment called “The New Science Behind Early Education.” Miller interviewed Dr. Jack Shonkoff who discussed the impact of “toxic stress” on children’s brain development.

In another segment called “Governor Deval Patrick: When Science Inspires Policy,” Miller talks to Massachusetts’s governor about his legislative approach to early childhood – and about his own childhood experiences.

“Dr. Shonkoff’s research is just my life experience,” Patrick told Miller.

The Science

“What’s really amazing about this biological revolution that we’re living through right now is it’s giving us much greater insight into what’s happening inside the body when we’re severely stressed,” according to Shonkoff, the director of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.

While the purpose of stress is to help people deal with threats, Shonkoff said, “it wasn’t meant to be activated all the time.”

High levels of chronic stress are particularly harmful to children. It can disrupt the development of their brain architecture and trigger diabetes and heart disease in later life. (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Early education is getting welcome attention from local and national political leaders. President Obama and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick are only two of the leaders who have called — as recently as last week — for expanding access to high-quality preschool programs.

This sweeping momentum is also making news, as journalists, columnists, and educators weigh in on the issue. Here’s a roundup of some recent stories and opinion pieces.

*    *    *    *    *

Cory Booker: Building on the Success of the War on Poverty,” The Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2014

“Our national investment strategy is hardly a strategy at all,” New Jersey’s new senator, Cory Booker, wrote in this opinion piece. “We are failing to invest in areas that not only produce great social returns but also reduce federal spending in the long run. Most glaring of all, we’ve got our priorities wrong: We are failing to maximize the productivity of our greatest natural resource—our people.”

“In a global, knowledge-based economy, the genius of our children is our nation’s greatest asset. Universal pre-K is a must: Based just on cost-benefit analysis, the evidence is overwhelming.”

*    *    *    *    *

Pre-K, The Great Debate,” Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times, January 29, 2014

“Against all odds, prekindergarten is gaining ground,” Kristof, a Times columnist, wrote.

“Aside from apple pie, preschool may also be the only issue on which voters agree.”

“Yet one obstacle is the misperception that early education has been debunked by researchers — when, in fact, it’s the opposite.” (more…)

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Early education has been showing up in political speeches and making national headlines, but as a Wall Street Journal MarketWatch article points out, full-day kindergarten may need attention as well.

As the Journal’s article explains, “often lost in the debate about improving early education, advocates say, is the fact that many students don’t even have access to full-day public kindergarten. Instead, the only option is half-day programs, which last from two and a half to three hours a day, compared with the typical six hours of instruction offered through full-day programs.”

Reporter Jonnelle Marte spoke with Early Education for All campaign director Amy O’Leary for more information on this critical early education policy. “Education advocates argue that some of the progress made in pre-K can be stalled if students move to a half-day program the following year. Children who go to full-day kindergarten spend 30% more time on reading and literacy and 46% more time learning math than children in half-day programs, according to Strategies for Children, which focuses on improving education in Massachusetts. Those students also tend to get more one-on-one attention from their teachers, says Amy O’Leary, the director for the Early Education for All Campaign at Strategies for Children. ‘It’s not just about doubling the time, it is about being intentional with the time,’ she says.” (more…)

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Governor Patrick

Governor Patrick

“First and foremost, let’s keep leading in education. Let’s make quality early education and all-day kindergarten available to more young children,” Governor Deval Patrick said last night in his final State of the State address.

In a speech that praised the commonwealth’s progress and its strategy of investing in education, innovation and infrastructure, the governor called on Massachusetts to work hard to meet unmet needs. Even as the state celebrates its progress, the governor explained, “some things have not changed enough. We lead the country in student achievement, but some of our students remain stuck in achievement gaps.”

“If we are to be in the leadership business,” the governor said, “we need to lead in rebuilding the ladder to success, because there are children here in our own commonwealth tonight whose future is still defined by the zip code of their birth. I was once one of those kids. And for all my blessings, I have not forgotten.”

Patrick’s commitment to early education and care is detailed in his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, which includes $15 million in additional funding to increase access to high-quality early education programs for 1,700 qualified children from birth to age five. The budget also calls for $3.1 million to help communities offer full-day kindergarten.

Later in the evening, President Barack Obama struck the same resounding chord in his State of the Union address, saying, “Research shows that one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life is high-quality early education.”

“It’s exciting to hear Governor Patrick and President Obama agree on the vital importance of early education,” Carolyn Lyons, CEO and president of Strategies for Children, said of last night’s speeches. “Their commitment is symbolic of the bi-partisan support that we are seeing across the country. A newly released NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 63 percent of Americans think ensuring that all children have access to early education should be a national priority this year. Another 22 percent say it could be delayed until next year. This growing national momentum promises to create high-quality programs that help children in every state thrive in school and achieve lifelong success.”

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In Quotes

“We can really work with these kids to put them in a better position to succeed if we start before kindergarten.”

Tom Weber, Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care, in the State House News Service article “Patrick Seeks 5 Percent Spending Increase in Final Budget Plan,” January 22, 2014

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Photo: Eric Haynes, governor's office

Photo: Eric Haynes, governor’s office

Yesterday afternoon, Governor Patrick released his $36.4 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2015. In it, he recognizes that we will not close the commonwealth’s longstanding achievement gaps unless we target resources to early learning. His plan proposes new investments to ensure access to high-quality programs, maintains funding for access to existing programs, and recommends new strategic investments in quality early learning programs. Key highlights include:

  • EEC Access Accounts: $40.2 million to support projected caseloads at the Department of Early Education and Care, including maintaining FY14 investments that saw 2,400 new students removed from the waitlist.
  • Birth through Pre-School Expansion: $15 million in additional funding to increase access to high-quality early education programs for 1,700 qualified children from birth to age five.
  • K1 Classroom Grant Program:  $2 million for a new grant program available to local partnerships to provide educational opportunities to 4-year olds through the creation of pre-kindergarten classrooms. Preference shall be given to innovative, collaborative proposals jointly proposed by school districts, private providers, human service agencies, and local and regional non-profits.
  • Chapter 70 pre-k funding: $2 million to increase Chapter 70 to fully finance pre-kindergarten costs for school districts who offer pre-kindergarten classrooms.
  • Full-Day Kindergarten: $3.1 million to increase and refocus kindergarten expansion grants to provide communities without full-day kindergarten classrooms the ability to offer such classrooms.

In addition, the Department of Early Education and Care administrative line item received a 5.7% increase for staffing needs to enhance program licensing capacity and other functions. The Governor also proposed $2.5 million for information technology costs associated with implementing the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System.

Many early education line items received level funding under the Governor’s plan, including Universal Pre-k, Head Start, Access Management, Mental Health, Services for Infants and Parents, and Reach Out and Read.

Click here to thank Governor Patrick for supporting early education in the FY15 state budget.

Read Strategies for Children’s statement on the Governor’s budget proposal here.

The advocacy focus now shifts to the Legislature. Join us on Tuesday, February 4 at 9am for State House Advocacy Day for Early Education & Care and School Age Programs.

For more information on the Governor’s budget proposal, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org

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Statement of Carolyn Lyons, President/CEO, Strategies for Children

Governor Patrick’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Proposal

 “Strategies for Children applauds Governor Patrick’s fiscal year 2015 budget proposal, in which he increases investments in high-quality early education to close the achievement gap. Today in Massachusetts, too many children show up for kindergarten already behind, and too many will never catch up. Research clearly demonstrates the lasting short- and long-term positive impact of high-quality early education – on everything from reduced grade retention and special needs placements to improved school readiness, high school graduation, college attendance, adult earnings and health.

We will not close the commonwealth’s longstanding achievement gaps unless we target resources to early learning. Governor Patrick’s budget recognizes this. The plan proposes new investments to ensure access to high-quality programs, maintains funding for access to existing programs, and recommends new strategic investments in quality early learning programs. It builds off progress made in fiscal year 2014 to reduce the wait list for preschool programs.

Through his proposal, Governor Patrick joins policymakers across the nation who are acting upon the evidence that learning begins at birth, and to give children a chance to succeed, we must invest in high-quality early education. We applaud the governor for his leadership and look forward to working with the Legislature to support these critical initiatives to close the achievement gap and ensure all of our children have a chance to succeed in school and in life.”

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Governor Patrick

Governor Patrick

The FY15 state budget season will begin next month when Governor Patrick releases his state budget recommendations. In November, the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) approved its FY15 aspirational budget, which includes an increase of $93.7 million. This increased investment is a wise idea that would expand children’s access to early education and care and improve the quality of early learning across the state.

Today, we ask that you take a moment to send a message to Governor Patrick and ask him to prioritize increased investments in high-quality early education.

Despite the growing policy momentum in favor of high-quality early education and care, our elected officials still need to hear from you – the Massachusetts voter – to help turn this momentum into action.

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