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Archive for the ‘Early educators’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

“How do we go about the task of simultaneously expanding and improving early education – creating more classrooms for more children – while also shaping and improving what is happening in those classrooms?”

That’s the question Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones ask in the article they’ve published in U.S. News and World Report: “Better Education Starts With Adults: Our treatment of educators and leaders is key to improving early childhood education.”

Lesaux and Jones are both professors at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and as our blog readers know, Lesaux wrote the Strategies for Children report, “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success.”

Their approach to expanding and improving early education is, as the article’s title states, to start with adults. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Friday, July 7, 2017, the Massachusetts Legislature passed the state’s fiscal year 2018 budget. The budget calls for $40.2 billion in spending, according to MassLive.com. That’s an increase of $1 billion over last year.

 

Funding highlights for early education and care include:

 

• $15 million for a workforce rate reserve

 

• $200,000 for preschool planning grants, and

 

• $1 million for Reach Out and Read

 

Total FY’18 funding for early education will be higher than FY’17 levels, but still several million dollars lower than the budgets that the House and Senate approved just a few months ago. 

 

The next step in the budget process: The FY’18 budget awaits Governor Charlie Baker’s signature. 

 

Please contact Governor Baker and urge him to sign the budget into law, preserving investments in high-quality early education. 

 

Show your support for the early education workforce: email the Governor now or call his office at: 617.725.4005.

 

For more information visit the Strategies for Children state budget webpage, or contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org.

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Our own Titus DosRemedios, Strategies for Children’s director of research and policy, was interviewed by the Toronto-based Preschool Podcast. Here are some excerpts of what Titus said:

 

“We have started to look at data on our early education and care workforce, and it’s kind of shocking how low the salaries are, how high the turnover is — the average salary is about $25,000 in the field for an early education and care teacher, turnover rate is about 30 percent. So we’re paying these borderline poverty wages for teachers that we’re expecting will be able to close the achievement gap and help children get ready to succeed in school. So there’s a mismatch between what our vision and hope is for the system and the level of investment there is in the teachers…”

 

“Access we thought was pretty good. And we actually spent many years pushing on quality because we thought that was the missing piece… But in recent years, we’ve started to uncover that in many parts of the state access is actually not that great. We have what we call Gateway Cities in Massachusetts… And what you find is that many children, high percentages of children in these small urban cities are coming to kindergarten without having any form or preschool whatsoever…”

 

“The secret to third-grade reading scores is not to get a new curriculum in third grade. It’s to work from birth all the way through age 8 or 9 and think about that entire continuum: working with families, infant-toddler programs, preschool programs, home-visiting programs, and, of course, the early elementary grades…”

 

“Data-driven early childhood education advocacy,” The Preschool Podcast, June 27, 2017

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Wheelock College has just posted a video from its 2016 Community Dialogue that highlights the importance of early education.

As we’ve blogged before, this event engages early educators, policymakers, and elected officials in a conversation about the strengths and challenges of the field.

Among those featured in the video is Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, who says:

“We have certainly come to realize the importance of the success of students in early education as they come to our doors in higher education.”

Be sure to check it out.

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

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My name is Tatiane Oliveira, and I’m an early childhood educator. I have worked as a nanny in the Boston area since 2003. I have been fortunate and blessed to be able to do what I love for all these years!

Although I knew I have always wanted to work with children, I confess I never imagined being a nanny. I, like many others, had no idea of what that meant, how it was a profession one could choose to pursue. That mindset changed as soon as I became one. I learned that nannies, are private educators hidden in plain sight. I loved the long-term connection and the ability to fully dedicate to one, two, or three children. Still, I thought I was crazy and the only one who actually loved nannying more than teaching. (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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