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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $42.8 billion state budget for fiscal year 2020. This includes $74 million in amendments.

“The Senate voted 40-0 around 10:30 p.m. Thursday to adopt the spending plan, which was amended over the course of three days of debate in the Senate Chamber,” according to a State House News Service story.

During debate, most amendments for early education and care were either withdrawn or voted down. Among these amendments were proposals for an early educator rate increase and for preschool expansion grant funding. The amendments that did pass totaled $2.6 million, and they added small amounts of funding for specific programs – East End House in Cambridge, Community Action Agency of Somerville, Square One in Springfield, Nurtury in Boston, Jumpstart, and Parent-Child Home Program – as well as funding for statewide resource and referral agencies [Access Management, 3000-2000].

The final Senate budget provides $16.6 million less for early education than the House budget.

To reconcile the differences between House and Senate budgets, a six-member conference committee will begin negotiations soon. Check back for advocacy opportunities.

For a complete list of early education line items, click here.

For more information contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

 

“Perry significantly increased participants’ education, health, full-time employment and reduced incidence of anti-social behavior and crime.”

“Children of Perry participants excel in various life domains — despite growing up in neighborhoods that are similar or worse off than neighborhoods of the control group.”

“Fadeout is a myth — success isn’t a measure of IQ or academic achievement in elementary school, but long-term beneficial outcomes like schooling, employment, health and life achievement over time.”

 

Perry Preschool: Intergenerational Effects Webinar, research results from Professor James J. Heckman’s newest analysis of the Perry Preschool participants, May 13, 2019

 

The working world has a big hole. It’s an empty space where child care should be.

That’s the core message of a new report — “High-Quality Early Child Care: A Critical Piece of the Workforce Infrastructure” — from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

“For the most part, contemporary policies and the modern economy necessitate that all parents work and yet, early child care is not part of the workforce infrastructure,” the report says.

“Current options for licensed early child care exert serious limits on parental work.”

This means parents are “on their own,” combing through a child care system with high costs, limited access, and varying degrees of quality.

“The market is mostly private, where parents bear the costs of paying for child care and providers may need to compromise on quality—as indicated by persistently low child care worker wages—in order to make child care affordable for parents.” Continue Reading »

Amy O’Leary

“Two of the questions that almost always come up are, ‘How did you go from being a preschool teacher to a director to a lobbyist?’ and ‘How did you get involved in policy and advocacy?’ ”

“I often respond first with, ‘I believe in learning by doing. So far I have been able to use the same skills I needed to captivate 5-year-olds at circle time to engage with legislators at the state house.’ I want early educators to believe that they are leaders and can do anything.”

“As I share my story, I am also thinking about LEAP—the Leadership Empowerment Action Project—which helped to provide an incredible foundation in advocacy and policy to me and to early educators across Massachusetts and the country.”

 

“From Our President. On the Journey to Leadership and Empowerment,” by Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All Campaign at Strategies for Children and president of the NAEYC Governing Board, Young Children, May 2019

Photo: Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Twitter page

 

Imagine a preschool teacher who has the entire community on speed dial.

This preschool teacher could consult with local education professors, public school teachers, or a local librarian.

All these contacts would help the preschool teacher grow professionally and become more effective in the classroom.

If this sounds like a powerful idea, then check out the Improving Teacher Quality-Early Learning Toolkit. It’s a blueprint developed by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) that explains how higher education, public education, community partners, and early educators can all collaborate to improve outcomes for young children. Continue Reading »

Award winners.

 

Parents are a powerful part of education. They help their own children. They volunteer and help other people’s children. And earlier this month, parents who are connected to the Head Start and Child Services programs at the Boston, anti-poverty agency ABCD, got a celebratory nod of recognition at a Parent Training & Recognition Breakfast.

The event’s keynote speaker was Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All campaign here at Strategies for Children.

“Parents can change the world,” Amy says, “and that’s why engaging them in their children’s education is so important.”

“Research has shown that when parents are engaged in their children’s lives and education it benefits both parent and child now and in the long term,” according to an excerpt from ABCD’s parent handbook. “Based on this rich body of research, we know that we need an ongoing commitment from parents and families in each of our centers.”

In her keynote speech, Amy encouraged parents to make their voices heard.

Her message: “WE Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For.” Parents can become leaders in early education and care. Continue Reading »

 

“Here we are growing a team at Zion Education Center with teachers with certificates to teach… and I couldn’t speak the language. And that’s why I went back and obtained my doctorate in instructional management and educational leadership, because I felt that in order for me to grow my team, grow my staff, and to better serve the families within our community, which are low-income, economically disadvantaged families, I needed to know what was happening at every level — local, county, state, federal — that would invest in our kids.

“And so having that team, a great team, in place, [with the] same mission, and same focus to shape the lives of those children and pull them out of poverty, pull their families out of poverty, through early childhood education with a diverse workforce — both caucasian and African-American females, some with Asian descent, and, yes, we have some male representation, too — we needed our workforce to look like, or my team to look like the children that we serve. And that’s how we best identify with them.”

 

April Torrence, founder and executive director of the Zion Education Center, at New America’s event, Exploring Diversity in the Early Care & Education Workforce, May 2, 2019

Torrence was part of a panel discussion that also included:

Maria Martinez, teacher, Greenbelt Children’s Center, Greenbelt, Md.

Maria Potts, co-manager and teacher, Kids World Child Care, Fairfax, Va., and,

Danny Vasquez, lead teacher, ACCA Child Development Center, Annandale, Va.

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