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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

Early education programs across Massachusetts have used federal Preschool Expansion Grants (PEG) to add more seats and serve more than 800 additional children annually. But now these programs – located in Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, and Springfield — face a tough question: What happens next year after their PEG grants run out?

Boston is taking proactive steps. Mayor Marty Walsh has announced a plan to invest $15 million over five years to ensure high-quality pre-K for all 4-year-olds in the city.

In other communities, PEG grants have had a great deal of local success. The grants have supported some of the highest quality preschool classrooms in the state.

These benefits were highlighted yesterday, at a meeting of the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) where researchers from Abt Associates summarized the most recent PEG program evaluations. A video of the Board meeting is posted here. It starts at 34:32. (more…)

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“The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River and BayCoast Bank organized the Early Childhood Summit, designed to come up with ideas to emphasize the importance of what a child learns before age 5 and to lobby for more money and resources for pre-kindergarten programs.

“ ‘The purpose is to educate our business leaders and our legislative leaders on the importance of early childhood education,’ said Jo-Anne Sbrega, the executive director of the Children’s Museum.”

“Summit emphasizes importance of early childhood education,” by Kevin P. O’Connor, Herald News Staff Reporter, March 15, 2019

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Governor Kay Ivey speaking last year at the Early Childhood Education Leadership Forum in Montgomery, Ala. Source: Governor Ivey’s Flickr page.

 

When it came to preschool, Alabama state senator Trip Pittman “was on the fence,” a Mother Jones article says.

“Pittman, a conservative Republican, figured the kinds of things you’re supposed to learn before kindergarten—washing your hands, tying your shoes, minding your manners—might best be taught by parents and grandparents at home.”

What changed his mind? Thanks to the Alabama School Readiness Alliance, Pittman went to visit a preschool and was captivated.

Recalling the visit, Pittman says, “It seemed remarkable, the fact that you could assimilate children into a classroom environment—raising their hands, going down the hall, being inquisitive. It was really impressive the way the teachers interacted with kids.”

The preschool team also showed Pittman “data on outcomes for children living in poverty: Sixth-grade preschool alums scored about 9 percent higher on state tests than those who hadn’t attended, and third-grade alums scored 13 percent higher than their peers.” (more…)

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Source: “Child Care in State Economies 2019 Update”

 

Child care providers care for and educate children and enable parents to go to work – but they also have a multibillion-dollar impact on the economy.

“In 2016, 675,000 child care businesses, which are mostly small businesses, produced revenue of $47.2 billion and provided employment for 1.5 million wage and salary and self-employed workers,” according to a new report, “Child Care in State Economies 2019 Update.”

“The purpose of this report is to educate and aid policymakers and business leaders in understanding the structure of the U.S. child care industry and its role in the economy.”

Commissioned by the Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board, the report was produced by the economic research firm RegionTrack, Inc., and received funding from the Alliance for Early Success.

(more…)

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JD Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, was interviewed at the Ready Nation 2018 Global Business Summit on Early Childhood, which was held late last year in New York City.

 

 

Interviewer: “Why use and focus on early learning as a key driver to close the achievement gap?”

JD Chesloff: “One of the members of the roundtable used a really great analogy. He said if you’re Michelin Tires and you have a hole in your supply chain of rubber, you immediately go to the beginning of that supply chain and fix it. And when we talk to a lot of employers, they’ll tell you that there’s a hole in the supply chain of workers. And if you’re going to use a strategy to go fix that supply chain, it makes a ton of sense to start at the beginning, and early childhood is that strategy.”

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When parents across the country can’t find child care, the economy loses a staggering $57 billion per year in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.

That’s a crisis, according to a new report — “Want to Grow the Economy? Fix the Child Care Crisis” — released by ReadyNation, an organization of business executives who are “building a skilled workforce by promoting solutions that prepare children to succeed in education, work, and life.”

“The practical and economic consequences of insufficient child care are enormous, impacting parents, employers, and taxpayers.”

The report notes that parents face shortages in three areas: access, affordability, and quality. Specifically:

• “Nearly one-third of parents (32 percent) report having difficulty finding child care.”

• “The average annual cost of center-based child care for infants is more than the average cost of public college tuition and fees in 28 states,” and

• “Only 11 percent of child care nationwide is accredited.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Last week Boston hosted HUBweek, an annual festival of ideas that attracts “innovators from all around the world” who come together to talk about art, education, science, and technology. And this year, early education was on the agenda.

A session titled “Build Baby Build! Finding Solutions for Affordable Childcare,” was a hackathon – a brainstorming session — about how to change negative perceptions of early education and of early educators.

“I opened the session by talking about widespread views of early educators that aren’t necessarily flattering such as thinking of them as babysitters and how this devalues the field overall,” Anne Douglass says. “We then invited participants to break up into smaller groups and think of ways to change this prevailing mindset.” (more…)

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