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Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

“My name is Shakurah. I’m a mom of three,” Shakurah Hairston said, standing on stage at the Horizons for Homeless Children’s 19th Annual Women’s Breakfast.

Then the tears came.

“In 2013, I become homeless due to domestic violence. I finally accepted the fact that I was in a dangerous relationship, and once I did, I decided to flee.” She stayed with a relative, which meant eight people in a two-bedroom apartment. Since then she has stayed in motels, shelters, and a hospital.

Fortunately, she also took her youngest son to Horizons for Homeless Children. Horizons helps homeless families by providing world-class early education programs. Continue Reading »

Nonie Lesaux. Photo source: Harvard Graduate School of Education

Nonie Lesaux — the academic dean at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) – appeared on NECN to talk about HGSE’s statewide study on early education.

The study, Lesaux says in the video, is “designed effectively to strengthen early learning in the U.S. and increase the pathways to success for young children.”

“What we don’t really know is how to scale high-quality programs,” Lesaux adds. “What are the key ingredients that would allow us to do so much better by so many more children…?”

Lesaux is also the author of the Strategies for Children report “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success.”

The Boston Globe covered the study here.

“Long acknowledged as a valuable learning opportunity with proven success, many families simply can’t afford preschool or are on waiting lists for affordable spots to open. New Bedford and Fall River are among 15 communities where stakeholders have been working to address this issue and prepare for growth. Next steps toward implementation require the passage of an initiative that would allow preschool expansion to be funded.

“One such initiative is An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education; a bill that calls on the Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to develop a grant program to fund high-quality, pre-K programs. The grants would be awarded to cities and towns that are ready that already have state-approved implementation plans as well as large percentages of high-needs students.”

“Your View: Preschoolers deserve quality education,” by Kathleen Treglia, SouthCoast Today, November 12, 2017

Strategies for Children continues to advocate for passage of An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education (H.2874, S.240). Massachusetts residents, please click here to tell your state legislators to pass the bill.

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

The American Public Health Association has adopted new policy statements, including this one on preschool:

 

“Support for universal preschool — With more than 60 percent of American 4-year-olds not having access to publicly funded preschool programs and knowing that education is a key social determinant of health, calls for federal, state and local government to implement a voluntary, universal and publicly funded preschool programs based on sliding fee scales for all preschool-age children regardless of citizenship status. Urges governments and preschools to ensures high-quality preschool standards, and calls on federal, state and local officials to make sure preschool teachers and staff are prepared to work with children and are paid livable wages. Calls on state and local school districts to create and implement anti-racist, culturally relevant and trauma-informed approaches in preschool. Encourages collaborations between health professionals, community health centers and preschool programs to support wrap-around services such as immunizations and health screenings.”

 

The association “champions the health of all people and all communities,” and these policy statements are summaries of full statements that will be posted on line next year.

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

From Alaska to Maine, states all have their own early education policies – and these policies are changing all the time. To help advocates keep up, the Ounce of Prevention Fund has released its latest state-level policy update.

It’s “a snapshot of early childhood care and education budget and policy changes in states during the 2017 legislative sessions as of September 2017.” The policy update also doubles as a playbook of good ideas that states can borrow from each other.

A national nonprofit, the Ounce, “gives children in poverty the best chance for success in school and in life by advocating for and providing the highest quality care and education from birth to age five.”

Among the policy update’s key themes:

“The groundswell of support and acknowledgment of the importance of a child’s social-emotional development continues.” And a majority of states have “strong leadership, burgeoning champions and increased interest in supporting high-quality early learning and development.” Continue Reading »

“Selma Sanchez spent the summer in a hiring frenzy. She’s the program director of the Child Development Consortium of Los Angeles (CDCLA), and at one of the preschool sites, almost all of the jobs needed to be filled.

“ ‘In July we lost our director,’ Sanchez said. ‘June and July – we lost three teachers.’

“Most of the staff left to work at a Head Start center that’s recently opened nearby – the federal preschool program pays slightly better than her state subsidized program. One lead teacher left the preschool in Canoga Park after 10 years, for a job as a teacher’s aide at Head Start – fewer responsibilities, more pay.”

“ ‘People who are trying to run these programs are tearing their hair out,’ said Marcy Whitebook, who runs the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.”

“Whitebook, who’s spent decades studying child care employment issues, lays out a simple case for higher wages: ‘If the science says the brain is most sensitive in these early years, and if we know every community has child care centers, and if we can be reasonably assured the robots are not gonna take over this area of work, then why aren’t we making this a middle class job?’ ”

“It’s getting even harder to hire early childhood educators,” KPCC Radio, October 30, 2017

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