Preschool programs are generating a lot of news this month, thanks in part to last week’s State House hearing on a number of early education and care bills — including, “An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education.”
Here’s a roundup of the coverage, which appeared in print and on television. As always, be sure to join the conversation on Twitter @EarlyEd4All.
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Luchan por educación pre-escolar para todos (Fighting for preschool education for all)
Telemundo Boston, by Arianne Alcorta, September 17, 2015
This Spanish language broadcast by Telemundo provides coverage of the State House hearing. It includes interviews with Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera, Joint Committee on Education co-chair Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, and Stand for Children member and parent leader Elsa Flores.
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Expanded pre-kindergarten in Springfield, Holyoke part of Beacon Hill push
The Republican/MassLive, by Shira Schoenberg, September 16, 2015
“A push for expanding access to pre-kindergarten in underperforming school districts like Holyoke and Springfield is gaining steam on Beacon Hill, but lawmakers face significant challenges in determining what an expansion will look like and how to pay for it.
“‘I’m hopeful this session will be the session where we do something,’ said state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Boston, chairman of the Joint Committee on Education. She cited a ‘deepening of appreciation’ inside and outside the state capital for ‘the profound impact that early education can have.'”
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Lawmakers hold public hearing on pre-kindergarten bills
Fox 25 Boston, by Crystal Haynes, September 16, 2015
“Parents packed the State House for the next big push for universal pre-K… And for moms like Ursula Allston Hill this hours-long legislative hearing is exciting. Her little girl is in the first grade now, but she tells me she struggled to pay for expensive daycare.”
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Frustrated parents voice concerns over preschool wait lists
WWLP 22 News, by Tiffany Chan, September 16, 2015
“More than 28,000 three and four-year-olds are on a waitlist to get into state-funded preschool programs. Frustrated parents told 22News their kids are entering kindergarten unprepared.
“’For me, it felt like my child was getting behind on learning,’ said Jennifer Gonzalez of Holyoke.
“It all boils down to funding. Parents, advocates and some state lawmakers packed a State House hearing Wednesday in support of several bills to expand or guarantee universal access to pre-kindergarten education.”
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No consensus on pace of early education access expansion
State House News Service, by Andy Metzger, September 16, 2015
“Secretary of Education James Peyser told the Education Committee he hopes to consolidate some funding streams so preschool directors are spared the ‘administrative headache’ of piecing together grants, and he wants assessment of young children’s development and learning while distinguishing that from a ‘high stakes accountability system.'”
“Acknowledging that early educator salaries can be quite low, Peyser said his goal of higher quality teachers will not be achieved by ‘simply’ increasing state-funded salaries or raising standards. He advocated for training and said early education should be expanded at a pace that is ‘sustainable.'”
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Pre-kindergarten bills get hearing at State House
Associated Press, September 16, 2015
“The hearing comes a day after Gov. Charlie Baker toured the Lt. Clayre P. Sullivan School in Holyoke — home to one of 45 new preschool classrooms opening this school year as part of a preschool expansion grant program.
“Baker said five cities received a combined total of over $14 million through a federal award to Massachusetts.
“The money is paying for a year of preschool for 78 children in Holyoke and 780 children in Boston, Lawrence, Lowell and Springfield. The preschool programs are free for children whose families meet income criteria.
“Baker said the program will help identify the best ways to connect local public schools with non-profit pre-school programs.”
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A plan for expanding high-quality pre-k
The Gateway Cities Journal, Op-Ed by Amy O’Leary and Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield), September 9, 2015
“Despite leading the nation on many educational benchmarks, Massachusetts has struggled to provide high-quality preschool, particularly for our neediest children and families. An estimated 60% of 3- and 4- year-olds in Massachusetts are enrolled in a formal early education and care program. However, enrollment tends to be lower in Gateway Cities: 52% in Fall River, 44% in Pittsfield, 43% in Brockton, 40% in Holyoke. And quality varies greatly.”