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House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

“From education to energy to transportation; from economic development bills that focus on diverse regions and industries to our nationally-heralded gun safety legislation; we are known in Massachusetts and this House for pairing bold ideas with commitment to collaboration. We also know that excellence — the historic excellence that makes Massachusetts a national model in areas like education — is achieved by laying groundwork for continuous improvement over time. Although we recognize that we’re facing some real financial constraints, the House will keep its focus on our most precious resource: our children. 

“We have one shot to get this right. And we will. That’s why more than a decade ago, members of this House had the insight to create the first-in-the-nation Department of Early Education and Care [EEC]. Access to high-quality early education provides short and long-term benefits that not only impact an individual, but impact our society as a whole: everything from kindergarten readiness, to financial independence, to widespread economic health, to incarceration rates. We will seek ways to improve and revitalize the Massachusetts EEC framework in a responsible, sustainable and forward-looking way. We will help build a system that early educators, parents, and, most of all, our children, deserve. To do so, we will enhance our three-tiered strategy which places a premium on building a strong workforce to ensure improved access to high-quality EEC programming.”

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) in a speech made to members of the Massachusetts House, January 27, 2016

Governor Charlie Baker. Photo: State of Massachusetts website.

Governor Charlie Baker. Photo: State of Massachusetts website.

Yesterday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker released a $39.6 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2017.

“This year’s budget sets the table for fiscal responsibility and a strong economic environment, without raising taxes or fees on our hardworking families,” Baker said in a press release. Baker is also trying to close a $635 million budget gap.

This proposal “continues the multi-year effort of bringing state spending in line with revenues, significantly reducing the state’s reliance on one-time solutions, and budgeting for a sizable deposit into the stabilization fund.” Continue Reading »

Chad d'Entremont, executive director of the Rennie Center. Photo: Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

Chad d’Entremont, executive director of the Rennie Center. Photo: Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy

 

“Cognitive and non-cognitive skills are inextricably linked,” Harvard’s Nonie Lesaux said during a panel discussion at the Condition of Education event hosted by the Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy.

There’s a growing consensus in education that children can’t develop strong cognitive skills without non-cognitive “soft skills” such as focus, persistence, and getting along with others. Indeed, the two categories of skills may be more linked than we realize.


 

Last week, the Rennie Center released the findings of its 2016 “Condition of Education in the Commonwealth” report at an event in Boston’s Omni Parker House Hotel. This year’s report focused on social-emotional learning, a hot topic among educators, parents, and researchers. The topic was so hot that #COE2016 was trending on Twitter during the event.

Covering education trends from birth to college and beyond, Rennie’s work includes a focus on high-quality early education. Continue Reading »

“Pennsylvania is home to nearly 300,000 3- and 4-year-olds. Last year, only about 1 in 6 of these young learners was enrolled in publicly funded, high-quality pre-k — a statistic that has been relatively unchanged in recent years. Even more troubling is that 70 percent of the approximately 175,000 preschool children at risk of school failure due to economic reasons missed out last year on this once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity.

“We all pay for those missed opportunities, and Pennsylvania needs to do more to broaden access to high-quality pre-k, particularly for those children at greatest risk of academic failure. These are children living in households below 300 percent of the federal poverty level ($72,750 per year for a family of four), have disabilities that affect their learning, or for whom English is a second language.”

From the report “The Case for Pre-K in PA,” January, 2016

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Newly announced grants from the state of Massachusetts will help 13 cities and towns “develop strategic plans for providing high-quality preschool to more children in their community.”

The grant program — the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative — will invest $500,000 to help communities design “a collaborative, public-private partnership model for providing high-quality preschool that is aligned with Massachusetts’ Preschool Expansion Grant program.”

As Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber explains, the grants help communities build upon their existing programs.

The grant recipients are: Athol, Brockton, Cape Cod, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, North Adams, Pittsfield, Springfield, Somerville, and Worcester. The grant amounts range from $22,000 to $40,000. Continue Reading »

Image: City of Boston Website

Image: City of Boston Website

Mayor Marty Walsh gave his State of the City speech on Tuesday night. He praised Boston’s progress; called for action on its challenges, and took time to focus on the needs of the city’s children. (The video is available here.)

“I know that passions run deep. And they should. But the commitment we share to Boston’s children runs deeper. We have tremendous opportunities to come together right now, behind programs that experts, teachers, and parents all agree make a lasting difference. That’s why I invite everyone to join me in making a stand for early education,” the mayor said. Continue Reading »

Detroit Child Care from IFF CDFI on Vimeo.


 

The Kresge Foundation is investing a generous $20 million to improve early childhood outcomes in the city of Detroit.

The five-year initiative will focus on five areas, according to Kresge’s website:

  1. “Investments in new, comprehensive early childhood centers;
  2. Below-market loans to improve current early childhood development facilities and to improve maternal healthcare services;
  3. Grants to support neighborhood early childhood collaborations and early childhood practitioners;
  4. Investments that draw national early childhood experience and expertise to Detroit; and
  5. Formation of a leadership alliance co-supported with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation that will bring together stakeholders from across all sectors in Detroit to create a strategic investment and action framework for the city’s youngest children”

Continue Reading »

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