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Tom Weber, Commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care

Last week, the Massachusetts Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (MAECTE) held its Early Childhood Policy Summit.

The title of MAECTE’s summit: “Preparing the Early Childhood Workforce and Supporting Quality Programs: Structural Changes Needed in Funding and Higher Ed to Meet the Challenge.”

As MAECTE’s website says, the organization is “a professional voice of Early Childhood Educator preparation,” and it “provides vision, leadership, resources, policy initiatives, and professional development opportunities to support Early Childhood teacher educators.”

Summit participants included providers, advocates, and state officials including Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), and Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.

“When our teachers do not make a livable wage, we do not make ourselves appealing in a competitive market,” Weber said.  Continue Reading »

Foreground: Representative Claire Cronin (D-Plymouth) speaking to Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

We are very sad to hear that Mitchell Chester, commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, passed away on Monday. He was committed to improving education across the commonwealth.

“Commissioner Chester’s leadership improved the lives of thousands of students & helped make MA’s public school system a national leader,” Governor Baker said on Twitter.

Massachusetts Secretary of Education Jim Peyser said, “He was a thoughtful leader. He loved the job he did. He cared deeply about all the children in the state,” the Boston Globe reports.

We are thinking of Commissioner Chester and his family, and we are grateful for his leadership.

This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Tatiane Oliveira, and I’m an early childhood educator. I have worked as a nanny in the Boston area since 2003. I have been fortunate and blessed to be able to do what I love for all these years!

Although I knew I have always wanted to work with children, I confess I never imagined being a nanny. I, like many others, had no idea of what that meant, how it was a profession one could choose to pursue. That mindset changed as soon as I became one. I learned that nannies, are private educators hidden in plain sight. I loved the long-term connection and the ability to fully dedicate to one, two, or three children. Still, I thought I was crazy and the only one who actually loved nannying more than teaching. Continue Reading »

A guest post by Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children

Jason Sachs and Chris Martes testifying at the State House

Tuesday was a sunny June day, so you may have missed the State House hearing on a range of early education and care bills.

Amy O’Leary and I — along with our colleagues from cities and towns and other organizations — testified in support of “An Act ensuring high quality early education,” H.2874 filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and S.240 filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

We shared our goals with the Joint Committee on Education, chaired by Representative Peisch and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain).

Budgetwise, it’s a tough time to ask for more funding. Massachusetts’ revenue forecast can best be described as partly sunny with a chance of car-denting hail. Look for “modest growth” of 3.9 percent.

Fortunately, our bill is an ideal fit for these economic times. Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Today, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education will hold a hearing for early education and care bills filed in the 2017-2018 session. Strategies for Children (SFC) urges the committee to report favorably on An Act Ensuring High-Quality Early Education H.2874 and S.240, lead sponsors: Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

 

The problem:

Massachusetts has a significant and persistent achievement gap that’s evident long before children enter school. Too many children show up for school already behind, and too many of them will never catch up. It’s time to level the playing field for Massachusetts children. The state could and should do more to invest in young children’s early learning.

Experts agree that high-quality preschool has a short- and long-term impact on young children’s educational, social and health outcomes. Preventing problems now, rather than remediating them later, is a cost-effective investment that benefits children and taxpayers alike.

High-quality preschool helps establish a strong foundation for children’s learning in K-12, but currently an estimated 40% of the commonwealth’s 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in any formal preschool program. Continue Reading »

 

Eva’s parents are “in quite a bind: having to choose between leaving baby Eva in the care of others at this young age or losing job security during this crucial family transition. They also worry about even finding child care that they can afford. Eva’s parents are not alone. Many parents in our nation are feeling these pressures.”

“Getting it Right for our Babies,” The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, the University of California, Berkeley, June 6, 2017

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) has announced its 2017 All-America City Award Finalists, and tomorrow it will announce the winners at an event in Denver, Colo.

“Each year, the All-America City Award, America’s oldest and most prestigious community recognition, is given to communities that exemplify outstanding civic accomplishments,” CGLR’s website says. “In 2017, NCL and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will recognize communities that have made measurable progress for low-income children on the key drivers of early reading success.”

We’re proud to note that two of this year’s finalists are Springfield and Worcester.

“Springfield has been recognized as a Community Pacesetter for making measurable progress in school attendance, summer learning and overall grade-level reading for children from low-income families,” according to a press release. Continue Reading »

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