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Archive for the ‘MA state budget’ Category

Photo: Courtesy of Jay Gonzalez

Photo: Courtesy of Jay Gonzalez

The Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care has a new chairperson: Jay Gonzalez, a Cleveland native and the former secretary of administration and finance for Governor Deval Patrick. Gonzalez is also president and CEO of CeltiCare Health Plan of Massachusetts.

“Our best opportunity to close achievement gaps is to provide all children with a strong start,” Patrick said in a press release announcing that Gonzalez and Katie Joyce were joining the Board. “Jay and Katie bring to the board diverse experiences and knowledge that will help further the good work already underway with the Board of Early Education and Care to ensure success for all students.” Joyce is vice president for Policy and Domestic and International Government Relations at Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

Gonzalez replaces JD Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, who became board chair in 2009 and will remain as a board member. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The gubernatorial election is heating up and as the candidates debate the issues, early education is getting plenty of well-deserved attention.

On Tuesday, November 4, 2014, it will be up to voters to pick the next governor, but once they do, we’ve got good advice for the man or woman who gets elected.

A Strategies for Children brief called, “Early Education Policy Opportunities for the Next Governor,” provides essential next steps that Massachusetts should take.

Massachusetts is a leader in early education. In 2005, the state established the Department of Early Education and Care. In 2010, the state won a federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant. And thanks to years of work, the state has built a foundation for a system of high-quality early education that aligns with the K-12 system. (more…)

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highlights

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Here at Strategies for Children (SFC) we’re proud to release our annual Highlights report, a summary of our accomplishments over the last year.

“Strategies for Children is evolving to fill a new role in the birth–third grade continuum,” Chris Martes, SFC’s president and CEO, explains in the report. “Building upon our expertise in advocacy, awareness-raising, and coalition building, SFC is bridging the worlds of policy and practice, and helping to ensure public and private resources are allocated effectively to impact outcomes for children.” (more…)

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“We lead the nation in terms of reading proficiency by fourth graders. Forty-seven percent of our fourth graders are proficient readers. But that means 53 percent are not. And we can’t leave half of our children behind if we want to build a truly strong economy and a healthy society. So we still have a lot of work to do in Massachusetts, but we know how to do it, and we’ve made real progress here…

“There are reasons why we now rank first for overall child well-being. And a big part of that reason is that in Massachusetts we work together. Ordinary citizens, our extraordinary nonprofit community, businesses and labor, child advocates, and our government.”

Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, at the release of the KIDS COUNT Data Book in Boston, July 22, 2014

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14359821987_be01fd4731_mYesterday, The Annie E. Casey Foundation released the 25th edition of its KIDS COUNT Data Book, a statistical look at children’s well-being.

The report shows that, “Children have a greater opportunity to thrive and succeed in Massachusetts than in any other state,” according to the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget), the home of KIDS COUNT here in the commonwealth.

This is exciting news for Massachusetts, but it comes with an important caveat: There is still much more work to do.

The Massachusetts KIDS COUNT data profile reports that 15 percent of the state’s children lived in poverty in 2012. And despite being first in the nation in education and fourth grade reading, 53 percent of this state’s fourth graders cannot read proficiently. Thirty percent of children have parents who don’t have secure jobs. And while an impressive 99 percent of Massachusetts’s children have health insurance, it’s also true that this state’s children are as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as children across the country.

MassBudget released the new data yesterday at an event hosted by Nurtury (formerly Associated Early Care and Education) in its brand new Learning Lab in Jamaica Plain where Governor Deval Patrick spoke, along with state legislators, local leaders, and Chris Martes, Strategies for Children’s new president and CEO. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Are you preparing to build a new early childhood or out-of-school-time space?

The Children’s Investment Fund (CIF) wants to know.

“We would like to identify organizations with capital needs that may be eligible for the EEOST Capital Fund in subsequent funding rounds within the next four years, so we can help with the early planning and predevelopment process,” according to an email announcement from Mav Pardee, CIF’s program manager. “If you are thinking about a facility improvement project, please complete the following survey.

The EEOST is the new Early Education and Out of School Time Capital Fund. Supported by CIF and other organizations, the five-year, $45 million capital fund was created by Massachusetts’ lawmakers last year.

The capital fund will finance grants that can be used to pay for acquisition, design, construction, repair, and renovations. To be eligible applicants must be nonprofit, tax-exempt, licensed programs where at least 25 percent of enrolled children receive subsidies. The Department of Early Education and Care will release applications for the grant this summer. (more…)

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Last Friday, Governor Deval Patrick signed the fiscal year 2015 state budget into law. The $36.5 billion FY15 budget includes significant increases for early education and care, including:

  • $15 million in new spending for serving approximately 1,700 children currently on the state’s Income Eligible waiting list;
  • $6.57 million rate reserve for early educator salaries and benefits;
  • New $1 million pre-k classroom grant program; and
  • $1 million increase for Head Start programs.

In addition, the budget level funds core quality support programs including Universal Pre-K grants, Full-Day Kindergarten, and the Early Childhood Educator Scholarship.

This budget represents the largest overall funding increase for early education since 2008 and the second consecutive year of increases.

Massachusetts readers: Please take a minute to contact Governor Patrick and your state legislators, and thank them for prioritizing early education in FY15.

The FY15 budget is another step in the right direction, but additional resources will be needed to achieve universal access to high-quality early education and care in Massachusetts. Stay tuned for more policy and advocacy opportunities in the months ahead, and sign up today to receive news and updates from Strategies for Children and the Early Education for All campaign.

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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