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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. Continue Reading »

The Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) has an engaging video series on its website called “8 x 8” that gives viewers access to the latest thinking on education policy.

“As part of the Bold Ideas & Critical Conversations event on September 19, eight HGSE faculty members were each given eight minutes to discuss research-based ideas that will have a big impact on the field,” the website explains.

It’s like a mini collection of TED talks on education.

The eight faculty members who speak are:

- Karen Brennan, whose research looks at how learning communities can support young people as designers of interactive media

- Howard Gardner – senior director of Harvard’s Project Zero

- Tom Kane – faculty director of the Center for Education Policy Research

- Nonie Lesaux, author of “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success,” a report commissioned by Strategies for Children

Continue Reading »

Last week, the five gubernatorial candidates met in Springfield for this election season’s first televised debate. Hosted by Jim Madigan, WGBY-TV’s public affairs director, the event covered a wide range of topics “from global warming to casino gambling,” according to MassLive.com. The debate was organized by the Springfield Public Forum and the Western Massachusetts Media Consortium.

All five candidates — Republican Charlie Baker, Democrat Martha Coakley, and the three independents, Evan Falchuk, Scott Lively, and Jeff McCormick — also discussed the importance of preschool programs, explaining their strategies for meeting the needs of the commonwealth’s children. Continue Reading »

In Quotes

“Creating successful PreK-3rd grade approaches is no easy feat. And, there’s not just one way to do it. It’s clear, though, that helping children sustain gains made early on takes numerous, coordinated policies and a dedicated group of stakeholders birth-through-third grade.”

Abbie Lieberman, program associate, New America’s Early Education Initiative, in her article, “School Year Begins, States Enhance PreK-3rd Continuum with Race to the Top Funds,” September 23, 2014

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. Continue Reading »

In the world of viral videos, a new one from the National Opportunity to Learn Campaign mixes cute children and a compelling public policy message.

“Ever wondered what the world looks like from a preschooler’s point of view?” one of the campaign’s blog entries asks. “Great news! We’ve got a new (and totally adorable) short video about why preschool matters, as told by the little tots themselves.

“Honestly, we could talk your ear off about the importance of early learning, but wouldn’t you rather have some cute kids with GoPro cameras show you why they love preschool? They’re telling stories, doing art projects, practicing counting, and learning that ‘when somebody’s talking to someone else, you be patient.’”

“My favorite part of school is learning,” one child says. Continue Reading »

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

A new poll of likely voters has found deep support for early education programs here in Massachusetts.

Sponsored by local public radio station WBUR and conducted by The MassINC Polling Group, the poll asked participants which candidates they favored in the upcoming gubernatorial race. Pollsters also asked about early education and about the election’s ballot questions on gambling and worker sick leave.

The support for early education was impressive. As WBUR explains in an article, “Half of those polled (251) were asked whether they would support or oppose a plan to provide comprehensive early childhood education, and 73 percent said they would support it. The other half of respondents were asked whether they would support or oppose raising taxes to provide comprehensive early childhood education, and 53 percent still supported the idea.”

This finding builds on recent national polls from the Gallup organization and from the First Five Years Fund that both found widespread, bipartisan support for preschool programs. Continue Reading »

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