Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
A new report from the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education (MBAE) looks at the past, present and future of education in the commonwealth and calls on policymakers to “unleash greatness.”
The plan for successfully transforming the state’s education system includes several recommendations, one of which is to expand access to high-quality early education. This call adds to the growing chorus of diverse stakeholders supporting pre-k, including business leaders, members of the military and law enforcement, and bipartisan political leaders.
The report, “The New Opportunity to Lead: A Vision for Education in Massachusetts in the Next 20 Years”, sets goals for the years 2016 and 2020, so that by 2030, Massachusetts will be an innovative, global leader in education. The report was authored by Sir Michael Barber, a globally renowned education reformer who has led projects in more than 40 countries. Nearly 200 stakeholders were engaged in interviews, focus groups and workshops to provide input during the development of the report.
The report is “a comprehensive assessment of the commonwealth’s education system, sounding the alarm that student achievement has leveled off and the state risks Continue Reading »
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“We can do better in preparing poor children for school and it can be done at considerable scale.”
Professor Richard Murnane, Harvard Graduate School of Education, in the WBUR story “With Preschool On The Agenda, Boston Attracts National Attention,” March 28, 2014
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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children
Can high-quality preschool programs make children healthier when they grow up? A new study suggests that they can.
“A new analysis of the Abecedarian preschool program, one of the oldest and most cited U.S. early childhood intervention programs, shows positive effects on adult health. Using recently collected data in a biomedical sweep, this research finds that children who were in the treatment group have significantly better health in their mid-30s,” according to a research summary on the Heckman Equation website.
The research was a joint project of Nobel Prize-winning, Economics Professor James J. Heckman and his colleagues at the University of Chicago along with researchers at the University College London and at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina (FPG). Their findings were published last month in Science.
The new study looked at children who attended North Carolina’s Abecedarian preschool program in the 1970s, and found lower rates of pre-hypertension for adults in their mid-30s, as well as lower risk of total coronary heart disease. In men, there were lower combinations of obesity and hypertension.
As the New York Times explains, researchers had already looked at cognitive and academic outcomes such as “whether the treated children would, for example, be less likely to fail in school. The answer was yes. Over all, the participants’ abilities as infants were about the same, but by age 3 they had diverged. By age 30, those in the group given special care were four times as likely to have graduated from college.” Continue Reading »
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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children
Last week, more than 100 early educators, K-12 teachers and administrators, nonprofit community leaders, advocates and philanthropists gathered at the Boston Children’s Museum for Strategies for Children’s third Leading the Conversation event: a panel discussion titled “Designing and Implementing Effective Volunteer Efforts Focused on Literacy.”
Planned by Kelly Kulsrud, Strategies’ director of reading proficiency, the panel focused on shifting the paradigm and changing the conversation around creating high-quality volunteer programs that make a measurable difference for children’s literacy development.
Designing effective volunteer programs “is an issue that is gaining momentum here in Boston [and] across the states as well as nationally,” Carolyn Lyons, CEO and president of Strategies for Children (SFC), explained as she welcomed the event audience.
During her own welcoming remarks, Carole Charnow, CEO of the Boston Children’s Museum, said, “We know that it’s this high-quality bond between adults and children that really provides the best possible outcomes for kids.”
This event is part of SFC’s “Leading the Conversation” series, which delves into the recommendations made in “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success,” a 2010 report commissioned by SFC and written by Nonie Lesaux, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Continue Reading »
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“If children do not achieve a basic level of vocabulary, linguistic fluency and literacy as well as various social skills before they start school, their ability to unlock the potential that formal schooling offers is massively reduced. It is, therefore, vitally important that all children start school with the foundations in place and ready to learn. Over the next decade this will surely demand universal pre-K, with state funding for all 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families.”
Sir Michael Barber and Simon Day, authors of the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education report, “The New Opportunity to Lead: A Vision for Education in Massachusetts for the Next 20 Years”, released on March 24, 2014
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