Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
“Early Learning Needs Accountability” the title of a recent Education Week opinion piece declares.
Written by Elliot Regenstein, senior vice president for advocacy and policy at the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and Rio Romero-Jurado, who works on the fund’s policy team, the article asks a key question:
How can K-12 education improve if policymakers don’t know how well children are doing in early learning settings?
The article links to several policy briefs that the Ounce of Prevention Fund is using to fuel “Policy Conversations” by “publishing some innovative ideas about how we can bridge the early education and K–12 systems, improving the quality and outcomes of both.”
The Recent and Disappointing History of Accountability Efforts
The authors write that, “To date, accountability policies have focused on student test scores from 3rd grade onward as the primary measure of progress, ignoring what goes on before then.”
However it is these first years of life that “are actually the most important to a child’s development, and we need an accountability system that measures the Continue Reading »
Posted in Assessments, Early educators, K-12, Pre-kindergarten, Professional development & preparation | Leave a Comment »
“Since 2004, Federal Reserve leadership—the Chairman and leadership from the regional banks—have endorsed high-quality early childhood education as a key economic development strategy,” the national nonprofit ReadyNation explains in an inspiring collection of quotations, including:
“Gaps in skills that are important for adult outcomes are observable by age 5 and tend to persist into adulthood…It makes economic sense to concentrate intensive human capital investment in the form of formal schooling on the young: The earlier workers invest, the longer they have to profit from their investments.”
Jeffrey Lacker, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, “Investing in people as an economic growth strategy.” Washington Post, July 13, 2014
* * *
“Research increasingly has shown the importance for both individuals and the economy as a whole of both early childhood education as well as efforts to promote the lifelong acquisition of skills. The payoffs of early childhood programs can be especially high.”
Ben Bernanke, former Chair, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, (Bernanke is currently an economist at the Brookings Institution) in a speech presented to the Southern Legislative Conference of the Council of State Governments, Charleston, SC. Federal Reserve Board of Governors, August 2, 2010
Posted in Business and economy, College/career readiness, National, Pre-kindergarten, Quotes | Leave a Comment »
Stephanie Sanchez, of Stand for Children, and Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode
This isn’t just the season for holiday shopping. Now that Election Day has passed, it’s also a great time for advocates to reach out to policymakers – including the newly elected officials who will be sworn in next month — and make the case for prioritizing birth-through-third-grade learning.
“Start now and lay a foundation,” Amy O’Leary, the director of our Early Education for All Campaign, said at a post-election strategy meeting that Strategies for Children (SFC) held on Tuesday. Attended by 30 local leaders in early education and care, the meeting took place at the Nurtury Learning Lab in Jamaica Plain.
What to Say: Crafting a Message
Write to local leaders — or call, email, and Tweet. Congratulate them on winning their elections, O’Leary advised, and encourage them to focus on expanding and improving education for the commonwealth’s youngest children. Continue Reading »
Posted in MA governor, MA Legislature, MA state budget, National, Pre-K to 3, Strategies for Children | Leave a Comment »
Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
To set state funding for K-12 public schools, Massachusetts relies on the Chapter 70 Program. Created by the Education Reform Act of 1993, and first implemented in fiscal year 1994, Chapter 70 uses a formula that “has two goals: adequacy and fairness,” according to a 2013 report from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DOE).
A fact sheet from the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) adds, “The Education Reform Act also served as the Legislature ‘s response to the State Supreme Court case McDuffy v. Secretary of the Office of Education, which found on behalf of a group of students from communities with low property values that the state was not living up to its obligation to provide an adequate public education to all children in the state.”
Over the years, however, critics have challenged both the fairness and the adequacy of Chapter 70. And while the calculation of each district’s foundation budget is “updated each year to reflect inflation and changes in enrollment,” the formula at the heart of the foundation budget calculations has not been updated for over a decade.
Now, thanks to a provision in the fiscal year 2015 budget, a Foundation Budget Review Commission has been set up to review the formula.
Advocates around the state can participate by attending one of a series of public hearings that the commission is hosting around the state. One hearing was Continue Reading »
Posted in Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Funding, K-12, MA governor, MA Legislature, MA state budget | Leave a Comment »
Robin Roberts interviewing Michelle Obama at a previously held White House Summit on Working Families. Photo: from the White House’s website.
Next week, on Wednesday, December 10, 2014, the Obama administration will host a summit on early education. During the event, the president will announce which communities have won grants to help build their preschool infrastructure.
“The summit will bring together a broad coalition of philanthropic, business, education, advocacy, and elected leaders, as well as other stakeholders who are committed to expanding access to high-quality early education,” a White House press release says.
“During the summit, the President will announce the states and communities that will receive $250 million in Preschool Development Grants and $500 million in Early Head Start Child Care Partnership awards to enhance and expand preschool programs and to improve access to high-quality infant and toddler care in high-need communities.”
The president will also “highlight new private sector commitments to expand children’s early learning opportunities.”
The summit builds on the call to expand preschool that President Obama made in his 2013 State of the Union address, in which he said: Continue Reading »
Posted in Business and economy, Federal, Funding, Head Start, National, Philanthropy, Pre-kindergarten | 1 Comment »