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Mayor Martin Walsh delivers remarks at the State of the City event at Boston Symphony Hall. (Mayor’s Office Photo by Isabel Leon)

“We’re making great progress. But there’s plenty of room for improvement. The gaps that remain come in the shape of race, language, and need. Equity demands bold solutions.

“That’s why, this week, I will file legislation to finally eliminate the opportunity gap in early education, and, for the first time in Boston’s history, offer free, high-quality prekindergarten to every single 4-year-old in our city. Our proposal is funded by tourism taxes, already paid in Boston, that produce the annual surplus in the Convention Center Fund. It’s only fair that Boston’s success benefits all Boston’s children.”

Mayor Marty Walsh’s 2017 State of the City Address, January 17, 2017

The press release about the State of the City Address is posted here.

The Boston Globe’s article on the pre-K plan is here

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Early education is getting a lot of multimedia exposure. There are blogs and, increasingly, podcasts, including the Early Link Podcast, produced by the Children’s Institute, a nonprofit organization in Portland, Ore.

The institute’s vision: “We imagine an Oregon where every child is prepared for success in school and in life.”

Its mission: “Move research to action by promoting cost-effective public and private investments in our youngest children pre-birth through third grade.”

The institute’s Early Link Podcast “highlights national, region, and local voices engaged in the process of early childhood education. Children’s Institute works to ensure a strong beginning for all Oregon children with a focus on investments and strategies that strengthen services on the prenatal through third grade continuum.”

The advantage of podcasts? They can pay attention to stories that the mainstream media misses.

Here’s the opening to a recent Early Link podcast, “Yoncalla Strives for Long-Term Change:” Continue Reading »

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

How do you build “a more inclusive sandbox” where more collaborators can lend their support to early education?

Our own Titus DosRemedios, director of research and policy at Strategies for Children, provides good answers in an article that ran this fall in NAEYC’s journal, Young Children.

The sandbox metaphor comes from social justice activist Michael Skolnick, who was featured in a New York Times profile. Skolnick was making the point that the civil rights movement needs more allies.

The sandbox metaphor,” Titus writes, “could also apply to the field of early education, which currently faces a similar challenge. The early childhood education movement has grown steadily over the past two decades, plateaued in recent years, and currently is in dire need of reinforcements.” Continue Reading »

“In 2013, Germany declared that every child over the age of 1 has the legal right to a space in a public daycare facility. This past fall, while America’s election unfolded, Germany’s highest court took this mandate one step further: It ruled that parents may sue for lost wages if they can’t find a place for their child in a public daycare center. This decision came in response to three mothers who filed a lawsuit declaring that authorities neglected to create the necessary daycare slots required by the 2013 ruling. Because the mothers couldn’t find a child-care center with any openings in their hometown of Leipzig, their lawyers argued that they were unable to return to work after giving birth, resulting in a loss of earnings. Chief Justice Ulrich Herrmann ruled in the mothers’ favor on October 20. (Stay-at-home parents, by contrast, wouldn’t have damages to recoup because a lack of child-care availability hasn’t resulted in a loss of wages.)

“This law may seem crazy to Americans, but it follows as a natural development from Germany’s long history of offering governmental support for families, and its more recent history of encouraging mothers’ paid employment.”

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

We usually blog about the policy side of preschool. So, we were struck by “The Preschool Podcast: For Leaders in Early Childhood Education,” which strikes a powerful personal note in its recent podcast, “Impact of High-Quality Pre-K Programs.”

Don’t be fooled by the plain name. In this episode, lawyer Liz Huntley recalls her own harrowing history and her very personal reasons for supporting early education.

“I’m passionate about it because I’m actually a product of it. I grew up in a situation that no child should have ever survived. And if it hadn’t been for early childhood I certainly would not be a successful lawyer today.”

“Both my parents were drug dealers,” Huntley says. She lived with her mother, father, and four siblings in a housing project in Huntsville, Alabama. Huntley and her siblings were the product of her mother’s relationships with four different men.  Continue Reading »

We’re happy to welcome two new Board members to Strategies for Children: Jill Dixon and Valerie Gumes.

Jill and Valerie will help us carry out our mission to “ensure that Massachusetts invests the resources needed for all children, from birth to age five, to access high-quality early education programs that prepare them for success in school and life.”

jill-dixon-taly-bio-photoAs we’ve blogged, Jill is president and co-founder of the Taly Foundation, which provides grants to expand children’s access to early education programs and improve program quality. A parent with more than 20 years of sales experience, Jill was inspired to start Taly after her own children enrolled in preschool programs, and she discovered how many children were turned away because their parents could afford the cost. Back then, she wrote a personal check to pay for five children to attend preschool. Today, she does this funding work through Taly.

vgValerie is a retired educator who has had extensive experience in public education as a teacher, a principal, and an administrator. She was the founding principal of two of Boston’s Early Education Centers: the Blue Hill Avenue Early Education Center and the Haynes Early Education Center. She is a board member of the Dudley Street Neighborhood School Charter School, and she was a member of Boston’s School Readiness Action Planning Team. Valerie has remained active in the early education and care community, serving as a mentor to public school principals and teachers who are creating high-quality early childhood programs that meet the standards for national accreditation.

We’re excited to move forward with Jill and Valerie’s support. They will help us work toward our goal of increasing the number of children in Massachusetts who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs and who enter kindergarten ready to learn.

Photo Source: U.S. Department of Education

Photo Source: U.S. Department of Education

Message from Libby Doggett, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning, U.S. Department of Education, December 21, 2016

“I want to take this opportunity between the Thanksgiving and the New Year holidays — and near the end of my term at ED — to say THANKS. I myself am so thankful for each of you and the work you do every day to improve the lives of our nation’s youngest children and their families. Sometime this work is very rewarding. Funding falls in place and the implementors take off with few mistakes or problems. Other times this work can be frustrating: elected officials don’t see the value of programs for young children or refuse to find the funding in tight state or local budgets. Other times, those working to put programs in place hit one bump after another. But each of you trudge on through the good and bad times because we all know that we must fight for every child. If we miss helping an infant, the next year she is a toddler, then a three year old, and soon enters kindergarten behind her peers. The first five years fly by quickly, and we know the loss of opportunity may be irreversible if we don’t act.”

To read more, click here.

 

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