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Archive for the ‘Cost and affordability’ Category

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Image: Taly Foundation website

 

Launched last year in Framingham, Mass., the Taly Foundation is a new philanthropic effort that’s devoted to early education. The foundation got its start when two parents faced the stark reality of how much money matters, even in pre-K.

Up until Jill Dixon and her husband Phil began looking for preschool programs for their own children, they “had been blissfully unaware of the complexities associated with early childhood education and access to a quality preschool program,” Jill Dixon told us in a recent interview.

Once they began to look, the Dixons learned what for them were “new concepts” such as lottery systems and lack of slots for children — the same scarcity that new crops of parents discover every year as they consider preschool options.

After the Dixons enrolled their son in a local, public preschool, “it dawned on us that it was so expensive that there may be a time when parents are unable to afford that for their children even though they may want to for their child.”

“So we asked the director, ‘is there ever a time when families can’t afford to put their children in preschool?’ And she said, ‘Oh yeah, honey, every year for the 28 years that I’ve been here.’  (more…)

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Image: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

Image: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment

 

A new publication — the “Early Childhood Workforce Index 2016” — presents a familiar good news/bad news scenario about early educators.

The good news: “Early educators play a central role in the environments in which millions of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers develop and learn.” The country relies on educators’ “ knowledge and skills to provide high-quality early care and education to our increasingly diverse population of children and families.”

But here’s the bad news: “our system of preparing, supporting, and rewarding early educators in the United States remains largely ineffective, inefficient, and inequitable, posing multiple obstacles to teachers’ efforts to nurture children’s optimal development and learning, as well as risks to their own well-being.”

The index was just released by Marcy Whitebook and her colleagues at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

“Melrose Mayor Rob Dolan said it took snow-removal savings from a nearly snowless winter for the city to be able fund free, full-day kindergarten back in 2012,” Wicked Local Melrose reported earlier this month.

“And while most kids in the commonwealth do have access to full-day kindergarten — 93 percent, according to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education — for many it comes at a price, one that not everyone can pay. The result: some children across the commonwealth are reaping the benefits, and others are not.”

That’s a shame because as Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All Campaign, told Wicked Local, “We know that full-day kindergarten makes a difference… It’s really about more time for quality instruction, more time for teacher and student interaction, learning the routines of the day. If you think about two-and-half hours versus six hours, there’s just more time for instruction and learning at your own pace.” (more…)

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Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 11.51.09 AMThe Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) and the Rennie Center have just released a new infographic about how to promote educational success in the commonwealth.

“Every child, in every school and community in Massachusetts should receive a high-quality education. It’s the best path to college, career, and success in life,” according to the infographic, “A Roadmap to Expanding Opportunity: Evidence of What Works in Education.”

“The Roadmap project looks at promising, evidence-based strategies to better support all kids in our Commonwealth. This includes a recognition that learning must extend beyond traditional school structures.” (more…)

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BethanyThis is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Bethany Whitemyer, and I’m the center director of the Bright Horizons in Pembroke. My center is located about 25 miles south of Boston and has programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergarten Prep. I’m proud to say that our center just received our third term of NAEYC accreditation this spring.

I started my career in early education and care as an Infant Teacher in 1992. I had recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, but I really loved working with children. I’ve also been a Lead Teacher, an Assistant Director, and a Field Director at Bright Horizons; as well as a Family Specialist at the Child Care Resource Center in Cambridge. I’ve used almost every employee benefit that Bright Horizons has to offer, including tuition reimbursement which I used when I went back to school for my master’s degree in Education at Lesley; the employee discount, which I used when my own children were younger; and the 401K, which I have been adding to for 20 years. (more…)

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Graphic: Child Care Aware of America

Graphic: Child Care Aware of America

The national nonprofit Child Care Aware of America is tolling the bell on the high cost of child care. The organization has just released “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care 2015 Report.”

The need for child care is considerable. “In the United States, an estimated 11 million children under the age of five spend an average of 36 hours per week in child care.”

However: “For many, the high cost of child care is one of the initial shocks of becoming a parent,” the report says. And sadly, the high cost of many child care programs does not guarantee high quality.

Expenses vary by region.

“The cost of full-time center-based care for two children is the highest single household expense in the Northeast and Midwest. In the West and the South, the cost of child care for two children is surpassed only by the cost of housing in the average family budget.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The city of Cambridge, Mass., has released its “Early Childhood Task Force Report 2015.” It’s a comprehensive look at how the city can build an early childhood system that improves the lives of its youngest children.

“We should be breaking open bottles of champagne. This is fulfilling hopes and dreams of so many people in Cambridge,” school committee member Fred Fantini said, according to a Wicked Local Cambridge article, which adds:

“The task force [has] developed a three-year-plan to improve early childhood education that would require an intended budget of $190,000 in 2016, $1.3 million in 2017, and $2.3 million in 2018. In the first year of the plan, the money would go towards affordability of early childhood services, program quality, and governance. In 2017 and 2018, family engagement and health care will be included in the budget costs as well.”

In a memo, City Manager Richard C. Rossi explains that the task force did its work with this powerful vision in mind:

“All children in Cambridge receive high quality early education and care from birth through third grade. As a result, all children enter school ready to thrive academically, socially, emotionally and continue to do so through third grade and beyond.” (more…)

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