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
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At our recent event at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Commissioner Sherri Killins of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care talked about eggplants.
Eggplants? Yes. The vegetable is a central element in a story Commissioner Killins shared about young children and oral language development, a building block of reading. The tale comes from “It’s Not Complicated! What I Know for Sure About Helping Our Students of Color Become Successful Readers,” by Phyllis Hunter, former director of reading for Houston’s public schools.
Hunter describes three mothers grocery shopping one night with their young children. In the produce section, the first passes a display of glistening, freshly sprayed eggplants. “What’s that?” the child asks. The mother, clearly harried and tired and irritated, tells the child to be quiet. “I don’t know,” the mother says. “Don’t ask me any questions.”
Soon another mother and young child pass the eggplant display. “What’s that?” the child asks. (more…)
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Election Day is fast approaching, and we want to make sure that candidates include young children and families in their education agendas. So, from now until the Friday before Election Day, I will run a question of the week to ask candidates running for state and federal office. The regular Friday “In Quotes” feature will return after Election Day.
Meanwhile, check out “Eight questions about young children to ask candidates” that I suggest in a post on MassMoms.com, on the (Worcester) Telegram & Gazette website. And see the Election 2012 page on our website. It provides tips for voters on how to focus attention on high-quality early education and reading proficiency this campaign season and information for candidates interested in becoming champions for young children.
Here is this week’s question:
The early education field suffers from low pay and high turnover. And as early educators, particularly those in community-based settings, increase their education and training, their pay is not keeping up. What will you do to link increased compensation for early educators with increased training?
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