At his first meeting of the Massachusetts Board of Early Education and Care, newly sworn-in Secretary of Education Matthew Malone called Governor Patrick’s recommendations for early education in the fiscal year 2014 budget “a game-changing moment” and asked those in the audience to urge their legislators to support increased investments in early education. Secretary Malone, the former superintendent of schools in Brockton, also encouraged programs to invite him to visit.
Other highlights of the February 12 meeting include:
- The board voted to submit its annual legislative report, which includes an update on EEC’s work in FY13, framed around the board’s five-year strategic plan. The report highlights EEC’s ongoing work on the Educator Provider Support system, the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), screening and assessment, community and family engagement, and challenges regarding access.
- The board voted to remove several requirements in three sets of Massachusetts QRIS standards that were identified as being redundant in an analysis by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. See Program Quality Improvements: QRIS.
- Commissioner Sherri Killins announced the department has opened access to summer programs.
- The board discussed revisions to the strategic plan, which is framed around seven key areas: standards, assessments and accountability; finance; governance; regulations; workforce and professional development; alignment between early education and care and K-12; and informed families and public. See Revisions to EEC’s Strategic Plan and Preview of Core Area Definitions.
- The board heard a panel discussion on collaboration among agencies, including EEC, that serve children and families. A series of three leadership retreats in 2013 will focus on strategies for developing a universal informed consent form to facilitate cross-agency data sharing and for developing cross-agency professional development opportunities. The panel included Commissioner Angelo McClain of the Department of Children and Families, Dr. Lauren A. Smith of the Department of Public Health, Joan Mikula of the Department of Mental Health, and Ita Mulllarkey of the Department of Housing and Community Development. The retreats are funded by the federal Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant. See Interagency Partnerships.
The next EEC board meeting will be held March 12, 2013, from 2:30-4 p.m. at 51 Sleeper Street in Boston (Note the meeting time).