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Archive for the ‘Cost and affordability’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Early education is making local news thanks to Backyard Cambridge, a podcast launched last year by two Cambridge residents “to strengthen local news and civic engagement.”

This month the podcast covers universal pre-K.

As the story points out, finding the right pre-K program can be like walking into an overcrowded mall with no directory. There are private programs and public programs; vouchers and full-pay options; and child care centers, family child care, and school-based programs.

Money also matters. Parents who can spend more of their income on child care can also afford to hire nannies. Cambridge’s public schools offer “junior kindergarten,” for 4-year-olds, but only for half of the ones who live in the city.

Why should anyone care? (more…)

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JD Chesloff

We caught up with JD Chesloff, who just completed a 10-year term on the Board of Early Education and Care (EEC), and asked him about what he’s seen over the last decade.

As readers of this blog know, JD’s career includes working at Strategies for Children and in the State House. He was also chair of EEC’s Board, and he is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

What has he seen as an EEC board member?

“The organization has matured over the last 10 years. It started out as a fledgling idea of having all of the early childhood activity in one place.”

“It’s grown up over that time and now it’s a clearly equal member at the education table with K-12 and higher education.”

JD praises the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and its focus on ensuring that children and families have access to high-quality programs. The department has also wrestled with serving all children, making universal access part of its vision in a 5-Year Strategic Plan.

What was the most personally satisfying part of JD’s time on the Board? (more…)

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“Child Care is unaffordable across America.”

That’s what the national nonprofit Child Care Aware declared last month when it released the report “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care: 2017.”

The report as well as an interactive map with state data and a social media kit all provide an overview of the challenges and useful tools for advocates who want to raise public and legislative awareness.

 

 

“Right now, a single parent who works and has an infant in a child care center pays more than 27 percent of household income for care – and that is unacceptable,” a Child Care Aware blog explains.

How much should families pay on average? No more than 7 percent of their income, according to a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimate made in 2016. (more…)

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

* * *

My name is Susan Irene Rogers, and I work at Commonwealth Children’s Center (CCC) in Boston where I am the executive director. I have been in the early education field for 29 years! I started as a homework tutor at the age of 13.

In addition to working with children at a very young age, I was actually studying to become a firefighter. I was a senior in high school, and I was determined to accomplish both professions! At some point, my mother expressed her concerns regarding my safety as a female firefighter and said she would spend the rest of her life waiting to be informed that her child was fatally harmed. So, I enrolled at Northeastern University to study Early Childhood Education and Sociology. Less than a year later, I returned to NU to study American Sign Language.

The importance of my work as an early educator cannot be measured, but should certainly be valued. I truly love working with children and families and feel honored to experience this time in their lives. Assuring parents, especially first-time parents, that investing in their child’s early education experiences is one of the best choices they could ever make is THE most important part of my job.  (more…)

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Screenshot: Committee on Economic Development website

Pay attention to Louisiana. It has a tax credit program that policymakers should know about.

“Louisiana pioneered its School Readiness Tax Credits in 2007,” according to “Pathways to High-Quality Child Care: The Workforce Investment Credit,” a policy brief published by the Committee for Economic Development, part of The Conference Board, a nonprofit, business-led policy organization.

In part, Louisiana’s tax credit “provides ECE directors and staff with a refundable credit linked to their educational attainment at four levels and work experience in a quality program. The credit amount increases as the credentials rise,” the brief explains.

The tax credit is “not an entitlement.” The only individuals who qualify are those who “voluntarily join the registry, achieve professional development, and have been working for at least six months in a licensed program that participates in the state quality rating system qualify for the credit.”

“The credit is adjusted for inflation annually,” and in 2014, “the value of the credit by qualification level ranged from $1,630 to $3,260 and a total of 3,770 individuals claimed it. The average credit was $2,150…” (more…)

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“It began when my husband Phil and I started looking for a preschool for our children. We visited programs, talked to preschool teachers, and tried to imagine our kids sitting at tiny tables, making friends, and climbing on outdoor play structures.

“We started to see how complex – and at times heartbreaking – the quest for finding a quality preschool can be. I asked our preschool director if she ever had to turn children away because their parents couldn’t afford to pay for it. Sure, she told me, every year for the last 28 years. I asked if there were children this year who couldn’t afford it. She said there were five.

“Of course I couldn’t sleep at night knowing this, so I wrote a check for those five children to go to preschool. Phil already knew the answer, but he still asked if I intended to keep doing this. Probably, I said.

“Phil suggested that we go big, and we created Taly Foundation.”

“Invest in young children now: Pre-K programs help parents and build workforce of future,” by Jill Dixon, CommonWealth Magazine, August 22, 2017

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Inequality between children from low-income families and those from high-income families starts early – and creates a daunting achievement gap.

“…children’s earliest learning experiences and outcomes” vary considerably “based on their parents’ incomes and education,” Sara Mead writes in “Education Inequality Starts Early,” a U.S. News and World Report article.

Mead focuses on children’s earliest years, a topic she says is missing from recent debates about inequality.

The seeds of educational inequality are sadly familiar. Middle class children are more likely to be read to, and according to the well-known Hart-Risley study, they hear 30 million more words than their lower-income peers.

“As a result, by the time they enter kindergarten, children from the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds are already far behind their peers in the highest quartile of socioeconomic status on measures of early reading and math skills,” Mead writes.

The good news: (more…)

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