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Archive for the ‘MA governor’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Last week, on Friday, July 17, 2015, Governor Charlie Baker signed the fiscal year 2016 state budget into law. This budget has $162 million in line-item vetoes.

The vetoes include a $5 million reduction in funds for early education and care programs, as well as a $17.6 million reduction for full-day kindergarten grants.

The Legislature can vote to override these vetoes. But legislators need to hear your encouragement.

Please take a moment to send them an email and ask them to support early education funding in fiscal year 2016.

Thank you.

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Nonie Lesaux. Photo source: Harvard Graduate School of Education

Nonie Lesaux. Photo source: Harvard Graduate School of Education

Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children, issued the following statement:

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and staff of Strategies for Children (SFC), we congratulate Dr. Nonie Lesaux on her appointment as Chair of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care. We applaud Governor Baker for appointing a nationally known literacy expert as the Board Chair.

Over the last several years, we have been fortunate to work in partnership with Dr. Lesaux, including commissioning the 2010 Strategies for Children report “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success,” which Dr. Lesaux wrote. This report has served as a foundation for addressing and improving the state’s literacy efforts, starting from birth.

We look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Lesaux in her new role of giving young children the strong start they deserve to help secure a successful future. Nearly 40 percent of Massachusetts 3rd graders fail to read at grade level. Third grade reading strongly predicts a child’s future academic success. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Monday, June 22, 2015, House and Senate leaders extended Governor Baker’s two-week interim budget into a one-month spending bill intended to cover state spending beyond July 1. According to the State House News Service, the $2.7 billion interim budget bill will fund state agencies and programs for one month based on fiscal 2015 appropriation levels.

The six-member conference committee now has until July 14 to reach a compromise on the larger $38.1 billion spending plan for fiscal 2016. The one-month spending bill takes into account Governor Baker’s allowable 10 days for review and approval of the budget.

Stay tuned for more information while the details of the FY16 annual spending plan are finalized.

Visit our website for a complete listing of early education and care line items in the state budget, or contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org for more information. 

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Early on Friday, May 22, 2015, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $38.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2016.

During budget debate, senators approved additional funding for the early education and care provider rate reserve, bringing the Senate total to $5.25 million. In addition, an amendment was adopted to establish a new “Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative:” $500,000 to help communities expand preschool access for 3-year-olds. Amendments to restore funding for full-day kindergarten grants were not adopted, leaving the final Senate budget total at $1 million for this grant program.

Visit our website for a full listing of early education line items and how they compare across budget proposals.

The budget now moves to a six-member conference committee which will negotiate differences between the House and Senate FY16 budgets before sending a final budget to Governor Baker. Stay tuned for next steps. 


For more information on early education in the state budget, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, or (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

A new poll has found widespread, bipartisan support for expanding pre-K in the commonwealth.

“Massachusetts voters are strongly supportive of spending measures designed to expand access to high-quality pre-K,” according to a memo describing the results of the poll.

“Not only do voters support spending to improve access to pre-K, but they believe the state should invest significant resources in the effort. Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans support spending at least $250 million, as do majorities of every demographic group.”

Voters also “believe expanding access is essential to giving kids from lower-income families a fair chance of keeping up in school.”

The poll is based on a March telephone survey of 605 Massachusetts voters, and designed to be representative of the population of registered voters in the state. The survey was conducted by Anderson Robbins Research, and commissioned by Stand for Children on behalf of the Pre-K for MA Coalition. The coalition — which is led by Strategies for Children and by Stand for Children — “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.”  (more…)

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Jim Peyser. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Jim Peyser. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

How do you make progress in education reform? By tackling the tough question of how to pay for it.

This was the topic yesterday at the Union Club in downtown Boston where the Building on What Works Coalition hosted a panel discussion called “Financing Education Reform: The Next Chapter.”

“Time is of the essence in making progress,” Tripp Jones said, welcoming the audience of nearly 150 people. “We felt it was important to say, look, there are communities ready to move,” on education reform. They just need access to funding.

Jones is a board member and the co-founder of the nonprofit think tank MassINC, which is part of the Building on What Works Coalition along with Massachusetts 2020, the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, and Strategies for Children.  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

As more policymakers become champions of early education, “it’s important to remember that pre-K cannot stand alone – the years before and after pre-K are equally important to children’s development,” Abbie Lieberman writes in a post on New America’s Ed Central blog called, “Why Full-Day Kindergarten is a Key Piece of the Early Ed Puzzle.”

Full-day kindergarten is important, “because research indicates that kindergarteners benefit significantly from a full-day in the classroom. In fact, studies suggest that full-day kindergarten improves academic achievement and can lessen the achievement gap.”

Lieberman adds: “more time in the classroom means more time for high-quality interactions with teachers and peers, which translates to more learning. As Alexander Holt explains in Making the Hours Count: Exposing Disparities in Early Education by Retiring Half-Day vs. Full-Day Labels, ‘Time in a classroom does not guarantee opportunities to learn, but it is a necessary doorway to that opportunity.’ In short, it’s difficult for a child attending kindergarten for two hours a day to realize the same benefits as a child in the neighboring school district who attends for six hours a day.”  (more…)

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