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A Montessori student and Janet Begin

 

“Leading the Way,” is a series featuring the next generation of leaders in the field of early education and care.

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Janet Begin was a computer engineer for ten years. She worked at AT&T Bell Labs.

“I always knew I wanted to go into education,” Begin, a Haverhill resident, says. “But I knew I liked computers, and I was good at that, so I started there because it was more profitable than education. That’s the sad reality.”

Eventually her company offered a buyout — and tuition benefits. Begin took both and went back to school. She earned a master’s degree in education from Lesley University. She became a substitute teacher in Haverhill where she lived. And she started looking for a preschool program for her daughter.

“In my search, I found a Montessori school, and basically it changed my world,” Begin said. Continue Reading »

 

Last week, New America, a Washington, D.C., think tank, hosted a policy event called, “At the Breaking Point: How to Better Compensate and Support Teachers of Our Youngest Learners.”

It was a panel discussion on workforce challenges that you can watch by clicking on the video above or by clicking here. (The event starts at the 7:38 time mark.)

“Teaching and caring for young children is skilled and challenging work. Yet current conditions cause many early childhood educators to come to work each morning exhausted, worried about how to pay their bills, and even clinically depressed,” New America says. Continue Reading »

Colorado: Rep. Jared Polis (D) was elected governor last night. He has pledged to ‘establish universal full-day kindergarten and preschool in every community across Colorado within two years.’ ”

Maine: Janet Mills (D) made history last night when she was elected Maine’s first female governor. As a candidate, Mills pledged to implement universal preschool for all 4-year-olds. She also told the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children that she would convene a children’s cabinet to prioritize young children and expand home visiting and Head Start.”

Pennsylvania: As governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf (D) expanded early learning opportunities by investing in home visiting, child care, and pre-K expansion. As a candidate, he ran on these successes and won.”

“Newly Elected Governors Support Expanding Early Childhood Programs,” By Katie Hamm, Cristina Novoa, and Steven Jessen-Howard, Center for American Progress, November 7, 2018

Screen shot: National League of Cities

 

How can a city or town become an Early Learning Community?

The National League of Cities has some good answers — as well as a new initiative to expand early education that six cities will be able to join (read more about this below).

Earlier this year, the league and the Center for the Study of Social Policy released the “Early Learning Community Action Guide.”

“The goal of an Early Learning Community,” according to a league information sheet, “is to ensure that all young children get a great start, setting the foundations for life-long success and well-being.”

Given that roughly 4 million babies are born in the United States each year, there’s a lot of work to do.

Communities seek results in three categories: Continue Reading »

(America heads to the polls today. Be sure to vote!)

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In red or blue states, early childhood education is popular across the country.

That’s what the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) has found after analyzing years of its own and other organization’s national polling data.

“Our analysis of this aggregate survey data found that national polling over the last decade shows quality early childhood education is a top priority issue for Americans of every political persuasion,” FFYF explains.

Every year, there has been “a consistent and growing desire among Americans across the political spectrum” for more investments and innovation in early childhood programs, especially for children from low-income families, FFYF’s report, “Early Childhood Education: The Public is Ready for Action,” explains.

This analysis creates “an evidence-based vision of where Americans stand on investing in high-quality ECE, and where policymakers can make stronger connections with their constituents’ priorities. This arsenal of individual polls paints an even brighter picture when studied together as a collective body of research.”

Among the report’s key findings: Continue Reading »

“Mayor Mike Duggan said Monday there’s an effort underway to provide universal preschool in Detroit for 4-year-olds that involves state and city government, philanthropic foundations and educational providers.

“Duggan disclosed the project while speaking on a panel of U.S. mayors at the CityLab conference in Detroit this week.

“ ‘I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but we will very shortly, I think, have a universal pre-K for 4-year-olds in place,’ Duggan said.

“In a brief interview with Crain’s after the speech, Duggan didn’t elaborate on how Detroit would offer free preschool to all 4-year-olds who aren’t already eligible for Head Start or the Great Start Readiness Programs for impoverished and lower-income families.

“ ‘I didn’t mean to bring it up, but we’re working on it,’ Duggan said. ‘We’re trying to pull everybody together — philanthropy, the state, providers. I’d love to see universal 4-year-old pre-K. I’m working on it.’ ”

“Duggan: Universal 4-year-old pre-K for Detroit in the works,” by Chad Livengood, Crain’s Detroit Business, October 29, 2018

 

Get ready to vote next Tuesday!

Support candidates who prioritize high-quality early education and care.

Want to learn more about the election? Check out the Strategies for Children election webpage. It has information on the candidates and the ballot questions as well as resources on early education. All 200 state legislators are up for re-election, as is the case every two years. Our election page also has information on local races for state representatives and senators.

This year, Massachusetts is having a gubernatorial election. Jay Gonzalez, a Democrat, is challenging Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican. They have debated each other twice so far — and talked about early education. Click on the video above for a recap of the second debate. (The early education discussion starts at 22:31.) The final debate is tonight, Thursday, at 7pm on WCVB-TV.

The Boston Globe profiles both candidates here, noting of the two candidates: Continue Reading »

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