In a recent statement, Dr. Chi-Cheng Huang, vice chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care, eloquently makes the case for Governor Patrick’s proposed new investments in high-quality early education. Dr. Huang is associate chief medical officer at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center and a former pediatrician at the Boston Medical Center. He is also an adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and assistant professor of internal medicine at Tufts Medical School.
“I have had the fortune of serving some of our commonwealth’s youngest citizens and their families and helping to impact their long-term development,” Dr. Huang writes. “But at the same time, I am well aware that no one sector can completely influence their outcomes; that it is the combined efforts of parents, families, educators, caregivers, peers, community-based organizations, religious institutions, and other role models that help to ensure that our infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children will grow up to be healthy, well-adjusted, well-educated, successful, and contributing members of society.”
Dr. Huang summarizes the research on the benefits of high-quality early education. He notes the state’s persistent achievement gap. He summarizes the governor’s proposal to invest $350 million over four years to improve the critical third grade reading benchmark, increase school readiness and close the achievement gap. Among other things, it would eliminate the wait list for infants, toddlers and preschoolers – a wait list that now stands at roughly 30,000 children. The proposal would also invest in quality across the state’s mixed delivery system of private and public providers. Governor Patrick calls for $131 million in new investments in early education in his fiscal year 2014 budget recommendation.
The governor’s proposal, Dr. Huang notes, comes at a time when the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has laid a strong foundation for a statewide system of high-quality early education.
“EEC has accelerated its work by taking expansive steps to bring many initiatives to scale,” (more…)