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Posts Tagged ‘#ece’

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

Photo: Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

“Massachusetts public and charter schools suspended kindergarten and pre-kindergarten students 603 times in the 2014-15 school year,” according to an analysis done by public radio station WBUR that was reported on its Learning Lab website.

“Students in their first year of school were sent home for offenses that included hitting, disrupting, disrespecting, throwing things and fighting,” WBUR reports.

This is a drop from last year’s reported numbers, but these numbers still mean that hundreds of children could face lasting educational challenges.

Among the risk factors that led to these suspensions: “Last year, students with disabilities were suspended at more than twice the overall rate: One in 16 was sent home.”

In addition: “Black students are suspended almost four times as often as their white classmates.” (more…)

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President Obama. Photo: The White House

President Obama. Photo: The White House

President Obama has sent his budget proposal for fiscal year 2017 to Congress. It’s his final budget, and in it he calls for wise investments in early childhood programs.

A White House fact sheet says, “The Budget aims to ensure that children have access to high-quality learning starting at birth by:”

• “Expanding access to quality child care for working families.”

• “Cutting taxes for families paying for child care with a credit of up to $3,000 per child.”

• “Increasing the duration of Head Start programs, while maintaining access to Head Start.”

• “Supporting universal preschool.”

• “Investing in voluntary, evidence-based home visiting.” And,

• Investing “in early learning for children with disabilities.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

This month in the Washington Post, Jared Bernstein makes a strong case for battling social inequality by investing in high-quality early education and care.

Bernstein was Vice President Biden’s chief economist, and he is currently a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

The title of his article is: “The biggest public policy mistake we’re continuing to make, year after year.” The article’s tagline adds: “By not investing in quality early childhood education, we’re leaving vulnerable kids behind and lots of future benefits on the table.”

Bernstein’s reasoning:

“It is widely agreed that while we do not seek equal outcomes in America, we do aspire to equal opportunity, at least in theory,” he writes in the Post. “We have, however, never come close to that ideal, particularly as regards minorities and those with few resources. A great way to correct that is to invest more national resources in early childhood education.” (more…)

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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

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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.” (more…)

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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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