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

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the House Committee on Ways and Means released a $42.7 billion state budget for fiscal year 2020. In his letter to members, Chairman Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) highlighted investments in early education.

“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Massachusetts has prioritized the field of early education and care, investing in both access and quality,” Michlewitz wrote. “This budget continues these historic investments, including another $20 million rate reserve for early educators, which will help to raise salaries allowing education providers to recruit and retain high quality staff. This funding ensures Massachusetts’s youngest residents will receive the best possible care from experienced teachers during their most formative years.” (more…)

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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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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

Across Massachusetts, communities are ready to expand their high-quality preschool programs.

All they need is more state funding.

And with budget season in full swing, now is a great time to ask the Legislature to invest well and wisely in early education and care.

Communities have been waiting for preschool funding for several years. In 2016, “thanks to state-funded planning grants,” 13 Massachusetts communities developed preschool expansion plans, as Titus DosRemedios explains in this Alliance for Early Success blog post. DosRemedios is Strategies for Children’s director of research and policy. He adds:

“The grants piggyback off of Massachusetts’ federal Preschool Expansion Grant, which provides high-quality full-day, full-year preschool to more than 850 four-year-olds annually in five cities.”

Since 2016, the list has grown to 18 communities, thanks to two more rounds of preschool planning grants from the Department of Early Education and Care that were funded in the FY17 and FY18 state budgets. (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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Advocacy Day. Source: The Twitter page of MADCA. The Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care.

 

Yesterday, more than 250 early educators, advocates, and parents came to the Massachusetts State House to meet and to ask their legislators to support early education and care.

“This should be one of our top priorities,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said at the event.

“What you do is of critical importance,” Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) said. The state budget process, Peisch noted, is an enormous competition among worthy causes for a limited pool of resources. “It’s really important that you come in and advocate.”

Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) tweeted: “Amazing turnout of early educators and advocates this AM for Early Education Advocacy Day. Nothing is more important than building resiliency in our youngest children and our #earlyeducators are doing the work every day. Thank you!” A former social worker, Spilka stressed the importance of giving early educators the tools they need to address the effects of trauma in children’s and families’ lives. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we want to say thank you to Tom Weber. He has announced that he will step down as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) in June.

“We are grateful for Tom Weber’s commitment as Commissioner of Early Education and Care. During his six years as commissioner, he led EEC out of its historic fiscal low point, which was caused by the effects of the Great Recession,” Chris Martes, Strategies’ president and CEO, says in a statement.

“Since 2013, Massachusetts has made steady progress on early education, and thanks to Commissioner Weber’s leadership, the early education and care field is in a much stronger position, both fiscally and programmatically. We have seen increased public investments in the early education workforce, in program quality, and in preschool expansion during his tenure. He is a tireless advocate for young children and families, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.” (more…)

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Advocacy Day 2018. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Come to the State House for Advocacy Day on Wednesday, March 13, 2019!

Join early educators, advocates, and parents from across the state who will gather in the Great Hall in the Massachusetts State House.

Last year’s Advocacy Day was great.

This year’s should be even better.

Confirmed speakers to date include: House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley), Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber.

Contact your state Senator and Representative now to schedule a meeting for 11 am on Advocacy Day morning.

To find out who your state legislators are, call 1-800-462-VOTE or visit: www.wheredoivotema.com.

And don’t forget to bring artwork from children in your programs!

Share the day on social media using the hashtag #EarlyEdDayMA!

For more information, contact Amy O’Leary at 617-330-7384 or aoleary@earlyeducationforall.org.

And as Speaker DeLeo said during Advocacy Day, 2014, make the rounds at the State House and “Tell your stories.”

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