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Archive for the ‘Dept. of Early Education and Care’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Here’s some great news: The Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Legislature have just announced that early education will get an additional 2 percent rate increase.

This increase “is in addition to the 6 percent rate hike that all state-subsidized early education and care programs received earlier this year – worth $28.6 million – which was the largest rate hike in more than a decade,” according to a press release.

“The Board of Early Education and Care voted yesterday afternoon to approve the additional 2 percent rate increase, retroactive to July 1, 2017.” The increase will go to the daily reimbursement rate for center-based child care programs and for family child care systems. “The funding for the additional 2 percent rate increase was made possible through an increase in the fiscal year 2018 state budget.”

Governor Charlie Baker said of the increase, “This is a significant investment in rate increases that will help improve the quality of early education and care programs for thousands of families in every zip code.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) wants your feedback.

EEC is revising the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (MA QRIS). And the department wants to know what you think of its draft document.

Massachusetts’ QRIS system looks at quality in five areas:

  1. Curriculum and Learning
  2. Safe, Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environments
  3. Workforce Development and Professional Qualifications
  4. Family and Community Engagement
  5. Leadership, Administration and Management

QRIS work is also going on nationally, as Debi Mathias, director of the QRIS National Learning Network with the BUILD Initiative, noted in a panel discussion last year. And these efforts are having a positive impact on children. (more…)

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This is a guest blog by Strategies for Children intern Kathryn Zimmerman. Kathryn is entering her senior year at Boston College, and she expects to graduate in May, 2018, with a major in Applied Psychology and Human Development and a minor in Sociology.

I have greatly enjoyed my eight months at Strategies for Children (SFC). After being connected to Strategies through my instructor and research boss Kyle DeMeo Cook, I was nervous and excited when I started as an intern last January. I had never worked for a non-profit or for such a small organization. However, I quickly realized that I loved the culture and environment at Strategies. The staff is in this field because they care about and enjoy doing this work. Since there are only a few employees, everyone was very welcoming and took the time to get to know me. I felt like I was an integral part of the team; doing important work for children, their families, and the state.

During my time at Strategies, I learned important lessons. To accomplish anything in this field, you have to be creative and willing to share ideas, even if they get turned down. This field is still new, so there’s no formulaic way of solving problems. Thus, the people who are truly good at this work understand the field and find creative ways to introduce new programs or advocate at the state level. I like to think that while I was here, I started to develop my own voice and share my own thoughts and ideas. (more…)

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Mid-summer is here with its long days and slower pace, so why not kick back and watch some videos on our revamped YouTube channel.

It’s a “greatest hits” collection of 50 videos that have been featured in the blog – all compiled by our media-savvy intern Nicolette Forsey.

These videos are great for advocates who want to learn more or use videos to educate policymakers and the public.

Looking for an overview? Wheelock College recently posted a video on the importance of early education and care featuring state leaders such as Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, and Carlos Sanchez, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.

Need a quick hit? The First Five Years Fund’s PowerPoint-style video, “Early Learning Matters,” is one minute and 53 seconds worth of big-picture preschool advocacy. (more…)

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Tom Weber, Commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care

Last week, the Massachusetts Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (MAECTE) held its Early Childhood Policy Summit.

The title of MAECTE’s summit: “Preparing the Early Childhood Workforce and Supporting Quality Programs: Structural Changes Needed in Funding and Higher Ed to Meet the Challenge.”

As MAECTE’s website says, the organization is “a professional voice of Early Childhood Educator preparation,” and it “provides vision, leadership, resources, policy initiatives, and professional development opportunities to support Early Childhood teacher educators.”

Summit participants included providers, advocates, and state officials including Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), and Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.

“When our teachers do not make a livable wage, we do not make ourselves appealing in a competitive market,” Weber said.  (more…)

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A guest post by Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children

Jason Sachs and Chris Martes testifying at the State House

Tuesday was a sunny June day, so you may have missed the State House hearing on a range of early education and care bills.

Amy O’Leary and I — along with our colleagues from cities and towns and other organizations — testified in support of “An Act ensuring high quality early education,” H.2874 filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and S.240 filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

We shared our goals with the Joint Committee on Education, chaired by Representative Peisch and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain).

Budgetwise, it’s a tough time to ask for more funding. Massachusetts’ revenue forecast can best be described as partly sunny with a chance of car-denting hail. Look for “modest growth” of 3.9 percent.

Fortunately, our bill is an ideal fit for these economic times. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Today, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education will hold a hearing for early education and care bills filed in the 2017-2018 session. Strategies for Children (SFC) urges the committee to report favorably on An Act Ensuring High-Quality Early Education H.2874 and S.240, lead sponsors: Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

 

The problem:

Massachusetts has a significant and persistent achievement gap that’s evident long before children enter school. Too many children show up for school already behind, and too many of them will never catch up. It’s time to level the playing field for Massachusetts children. The state could and should do more to invest in young children’s early learning.

Experts agree that high-quality preschool has a short- and long-term impact on young children’s educational, social and health outcomes. Preventing problems now, rather than remediating them later, is a cost-effective investment that benefits children and taxpayers alike.

High-quality preschool helps establish a strong foundation for children’s learning in K-12, but currently an estimated 40% of the commonwealth’s 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in any formal preschool program. (more…)

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