Photo from Charlie Baker’s Facebook page.
On January 8, 2015, Charlie Baker and Karyn Polito will be sworn in as the next governor and lieutenant governor of the commonwealth.
To prepare, Baker has been assembling a transition team to review the state’s public policy needs. So it’s a great time for early educators, program leaders, advocates and parents to talk to this emerging mix of bi-partisan leaders about the importance of high-quality preschool programs and early literacy.
Polito, a former state representative, will chair the transition team. And Jim Peyser will lead the transition team. Peyser served as the former chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Education and as a special adviser to Governor William Weld.
A State House News article posted on WBUR’s website reports that Baker has created the following committees:
• Jobs and the Economy
• State of the State
• Better Government
• Human Resources, and
The schools committee will be co-chaired by: Continue Reading »
Posted in Business and economy, Election, Head Start, Literacy, MA governor, MA Legislature, Pre-kindergarten, Reading proficiency | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
Family Literacy Month is sponsored by the Massachusetts Family Literacy Consortium. To learn more about how to “raise a reader” and for other information, check out this Department of Early Education and Care web page.
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“We must continue to encourage families to support reading and literacy every day, as education is Massachusetts’ calling card. Teaching children the love of reading is opening the door to their future, and we must all get behind these efforts throughout the year.”
Governor Deval Patrick, in a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, November 7, 2014
“Teaching children to read and to love reading creates the foundation for future successes in the classroom. I encourage all children and parents to find a subject they love and read everything and anything they can.”
Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matthew Malone, in the November 7th, 2014, press release
“Through their multigenerational reach, family literacy programs play a critical role in the state’s effort to close academic achievement gaps and strengthen the workforce. By equipping parents with literacy knowledge, family literacy programs empower parents to support their child’s learning and development, which is good for families and our society as a whole.”
Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber, in the November 7th, 2014, press release
Posted in Dept. of Early Education and Care, Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Developmentally appropriate practice, Family engagement, Literacy, MA governor, Reading proficiency | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children
This post was originally published on November 25, 2013.
“The time is now to redesign this country’s approach to language and literacy instruction, and governors who choose to can lead the charge,” according to the National Governors Association (NGA) report, “A Governor’s Guide to Early Literacy: Getting all Students Reading by Third Grade.”
Acknowledging the fact that only one-third of America’s fourth graders are reading proficiently, the report points out that America’s governors can help address this challenge. They can build a bridge between knowledge and action, connecting what researchers know to what policymakers do.
What the Research Says
To provide the research background on the literacy issue, the report points to three widely accepted research findings:
1. “Starting at kindergarten is too late.” Because literacy skills start developing at birth and because achievement gaps show up early, infants, toddlers and preschoolers need effective, high-quality early education and care programs that introduce early literacy concepts.
Continue Reading »
Posted in Achievement gap, Early educators, English language learners, Family engagement, Full-day kindergarten, Infants and toddlers, Language development, National, Pre-kindergarten, Reading proficiency, TBT | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
Mississippi recently received troubling news about its youngest children.
A report released last month “revealed that two-thirds of the state’s youngest students enter school unprepared to learn and are, in fact, well below where they should be in terms of literacy,” according to the Cabinet Report article, “Crisis Brewing Among Early Learners.”
Mississippi’s Superintendent Carey Wright “is a staunch advocate of early childhood education but her mission to improve these programs for Mississippi kids has taken on new urgency in the wake of the state’s first assessment of kindergarten readiness,” the article says.
“More than 40,000 kindergarteners from 144 districts throughout the state took the STAR Early Literacy exam during the first month of this school year, according to the Mississippi Department of Education. More than 65 percent of those students scored below the 530 benchmark score that indicates a student has mastered at least 70 percent of early reading skills.
“The state average score was 501.
“The assessment evaluated skills such as the ability to recognize letters and match letters to their sounds and a student’s recognition that print flows from left to right. The exam produced reports for parents and teachers that detail each child’s early reading skills. Teacher reports also include diagnostic information and instructional plans for every student.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Assessments, Federal, Funding, Literacy, National, Pre-K to 3, Pre-kindergarten, Reading proficiency | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children
Parents, mayors, governors, and President Obama are all talking about the importance of high-quality preschool programs and about how they can help children become proficient third grade readers.
But with all this energy and action, it can be easy to lose sight of how, specifically, policymakers can have a positive impact in these areas.
That’s why the Education Commission of the States has put together a guide for policymaker’s, an A to Z primer on early education called “Initiatives from Preschool to Third Grade.”
It’s a “reference guide for policymakers and their staffs on the most commonly requested topics from preschool to third grade,” according to the guide’s executive summary.
The guide says, “the primary programs and strategies policymakers have inquired about include: Continue Reading »
Posted in Assessments, Boston, Curriculum, Dept. of Early Education and Care, Full-day kindergarten, Funding, National, Pre-K to 3, QRIS, Reading proficiency, Standards and curriculum, Strategies for Children | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
This past Election Day, voters in Seattle got to choose between two different universal preschool proposals. They selected one backed by Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and the City Council.
“The effort began with a 2013 City Council resolution that charged the city’s Office of Education with developing a plan for building universal pre-K,” EdCentral, a New America Foundation blog, explains.
Of the two proposals, voters approved Proposition 1B, which authorizes “a $58 million property-tax levy to fund a four-year pilot program of preschool subsidized on a sliding scale, while setting academic standards and raising preschool teacher pay,” according to an article in the Seattle Times.
“Lattés cost more,” Mayor Murray said, according to public radio station KPLU, which reports, “Under the proposed four-year, $58 billion tax hike, Murray says the average Seattle homeowner would pay an extra $3.60 in property taxes each month to fund a pilot project serving 2,000 mostly low-income preschool-age kids.”
“The preschool program is designed to meet a wide achievement gap in the Seattle school system,” Seattle Pi, a Heart Newspapers website, reports. “Students in north end schools have higher text scores, higher math and reading skills, than south end schools with heavy populations of African-American, Hispanic, and immigrant children.” Continue Reading »
Posted in Achievement gap, Election, National, Pre-kindergarten, QRIS | Leave a Comment »
“Moms and dads deserve a great place to drop their kids off every day that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg. We need better childcare, daycare, early childhood education policies. In many states, sending your child to daycare costs more than sending them to a public university…
“And too often, parents have no choice but to put their kids in cheaper daycare that maybe doesn’t have the kinds of programming that makes a big difference in a child’s development. And sometimes there may just not be any slots, or the best programs may be too far away. And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make.”
President Barack Obama, in a speech on Women and the Economy at Rhode Island College, October 31, 2014
Posted in Cost and affordability, Federal, National, Pre-kindergarten, Quotes | Leave a Comment »