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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Here’s some great news: The Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Legislature have just announced that early education will get an additional 2 percent rate increase.

This increase “is in addition to the 6 percent rate hike that all state-subsidized early education and care programs received earlier this year – worth $28.6 million – which was the largest rate hike in more than a decade,” according to a press release.

“The Board of Early Education and Care voted yesterday afternoon to approve the additional 2 percent rate increase, retroactive to July 1, 2017.” The increase will go to the daily reimbursement rate for center-based child care programs and for family child care systems. “The funding for the additional 2 percent rate increase was made possible through an increase in the fiscal year 2018 state budget.”

Governor Charlie Baker said of the increase, “This is a significant investment in rate increases that will help improve the quality of early education and care programs for thousands of families in every zip code.” Continue Reading »

 

Early childhood teachers increasingly need and want bachelor’s degrees, but it can be tough to find the time and money to go to college. That’s why New America, a Washington, D.C., think tank, is looking at the potential for on-line college programs.

“Online degree programs have emerged as one way to create a more flexible and accessible pathway,” writes Shayna Cook in the New America report, “When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online: Challenges and Opportunities.”

A video of a panel discussion on this topic is posted here.

The report focuses primarily on pre-K lead teachers, “the segment of the early childhood workforce that is closest to achieving the bachelor’s degree credential and commensurate compensation.”

The report findings suggest that while there are great opportunities in online education, there are also great challenges. Continue Reading »

“Even before my daughter was born, I struggled to find childcare for her. I searched months before she was born. Once she was born, I placed her on two waiting lists—one was three months long, and the other one year. The whole situation was stressful because my six weeks of maternity leave was running out. Luckily my employer allowed me to work part-time until I secured childcare. I relied on my network of family and friends to find a babysitter.”
– a Parent

 

“Our pay rate is not a living wage.”
– Center director

 

“Fifty hours of direct childcare plus 10–15 hours of curriculum and food prep, cleaning, shopping, and paperwork is too much with a family of my own to care for. Employment and tax laws make it too difficult to hire an employee, and if I did, parents can’t afford a tuition increase to cover this cost. I already make far less than minimum wage.”
– Family Child Care provider

Continue Reading »

A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie Adornetto

 

In Pittsfield, we know how important early education is. Children who don’t get a strong start can’t read proficiently by third grade. In our city, 2017 MCAS data shows that only 44 percent of third graders are proficient in English and only 44 percent are proficient in math. We want to see these numbers improve because, to put it bluntly, children who struggle to read may also struggle to succeed.

Because helping children takes a team approach, in 2012, the Berkshire United Way formed Pittsfield Promise, a coalition focused on ensuring that our third-graders can read proficiently. To achieve this goal, members of the coalition work closely with early childhood programs, social service and health providers, businesses, and community members.

In 2016, Pittsfield was awarded a preschool expansion grant. We are using this funding to create a collaboration between the Pittsfield Public Schools and two local center-based early childhood programs.

In this mixed-delivery model, the Pittsfield Public Schools is the lead partner and fiduciary agent. Continue Reading »

Amy and Lisa Crowley

Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign, is always on the go.

Last month, Amy was at a breakfast hosted by Horizons for Homeless children where Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone, was the speaker. She was also at Jumpstart’s Read for the Record at the Boston Public Library.

But the past part of the day was running into two former students from Amy’s classes at Cambridge College and Wheelock College. Amy teaches Advocacy, Policy and Leadership at both institutions.

The students: Continue Reading »

“Gov. Cuomo late Wednesday night gave his approval to a city plan to build a cutting-edge pre-kindergarten school at the New York Hall of Science.

“Cuomo, just before midnight, signed legislation that would allow the city Department of Education to use a portion of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for the $50 million Pre-K Center, which would enroll 300 kids and focus on science, engineering, math and the arts.”

“‘STEM education is an important part of my education policy and the purpose underlying the bill is a noble one,’ Cuomo wrote in his approval measure.”

“Cuomo approves plan to build pre-K at New York Hall of Science,” The New York Daily News, November 30, 2017

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Study after study keeps coming to the same conclusion: Early education works.

Now new research drives home the point: Early education provides benefits that last through high school.

That’s the result of a meta-study published by the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

“It is exciting that our results show that the benefits of early childhood education are sustained through elementary school and beyond,” study coauthor Dana McCoy, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said in a press release.

“These results provide further evidence for the potential individual and societal benefits of expanding early childhood education programming in the United States.”

The researchers conducted a meta-study of 22 early education studies conducted between 1960 and 2016. Continue Reading »

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