Archive for the ‘Early educators’ Category

“We will build on the House’s ongoing commitment to providing high-quality early education and care, in large part by supporting our EEC workforce. This means developing an action plan to build a sustainable workforce development system… one that is responsive to the distinct needs of the EEC field.

“We know that the EEC years provide a unique opportunity for us to impact learning outcomes for children.

“We also know that it is an equally vital time for addressing mental health. I am currently working with the Chairs of Education and Mental Health, as well as the Child Advocate, to coordinate efforts as we again prioritize children’s long-term social, emotional and academic success by investing in early childhood mental health services.”

From a speech by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, January 31, 2018

To read the entire speech, click here.

For news coverage of the speech, click here.

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Photo: Alastair Pike, Office of Governor Charlie Baker. Source: Governor Baker’s Flickr page.

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker unveiled a $40.9 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2019. This would be a 2.6% increase over current spending levels.

In his State of the Commonwealth speech, Governor Baker highlighted recent investments in the early education and care workforce: “To help the next generation of students get off to a good start, we delivered, with your support, one of the largest increases in funding for early childhood education in over a decade in our 2018 budget. All in, we’ve increased state spending on early education rates, delivering a $45 million wage increase for teachers.”

The governor’s budget provides a $13.62 million increase for early education and care, primarily through EEC’s two access accounts: Supportive and TANF (3000-3060) and Income Eligible (3000-4060). The budget does not include a separate rate reserve for early educator salaries. Preschool planning grants were not funded. 

Visit the Strategies for Children’s website for budget details. The House of Representatives is currently working on its budget, due out in April. Contact your state representative to advocate for increased investments in high-quality early education.

For more information and advocacy opportunities, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


“Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?” journalist Jeneen Interlandi asks in the title of a recent New York Times Magazine article.

The article tells the story of Kejo Kelly, an early educator in Springfield, Mass., who is devoted to her work despite earning a low salary, weathering personal tragedies, and covering for absent colleagues.

“The community Kelly taught in was low-income by all the standard metrics,” the article says. “Many of her students came from single-parent households — some from teenage mothers, at least one from foster care — and nearly all of them qualified for state-funded child care vouchers.”

Teachers at Kelly’s preschool program earn some $10 per hour, and staff turnover is high. The preschool can afford to “cover basics like food and art supplies but not enough to pay for on-site behavioral specialists or occupational therapists.” That’s why:

“Kelly kept her own fractured vigil — taking note of which students couldn’t control their emotions, or sit still for the life of them, or engage with others in a meaningful way — and giving those students whatever extra attention could be spared. She sometimes imagined the classroom as a bubble, inside which her students were temporarily spared from the hazards of everyday life. Her job, as she saw it, was to hold that bubble open for the ones who couldn’t always hold it open themselves.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


How can the United States do better for its toddlers?

Answers abound in a series of articles produced by the Hechinger Institute and Columbia Journalism School’s Teacher Project. A mix of these articles appear on Hechinger’s website and also on Slate’s.

“Could we improve America by treating 2-year-olds better?” the title of an article by Lillian Mongeau asks.

“Parents dread the terrible twos, but what makes the year so tough for many families isn’t just tantrums in supermarket aisles or toilet-training disasters. It’s the difficulty of finding safe, high-quality child care in a country that offers parents limited choices of questionable quality and little guidance on how to make those choices. This neglect could have far-reaching consequences—research shows that a toddler’s daily environment can have a lasting effect on her brain structure for a lifetime.” (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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Last month, MIT hosted the Governor’s Convening for Digital and Lifelong Learning.

The conference on new ideas in digital learning focused on a number of topics, including new opportunities for the early education and care workforce.

Speaking at the conference, Governor Charlie Baker asked:

“How do we as a commonwealth, given our rich and important history as a player in education find a way to maximize the opportunities associated with digital learning and innovation on behalf of our students and, frankly, our working people here in Massachusetts?”

Baker said that he and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito, “run into employers over and over and over again who say that their single biggest impediment to growth is their ability to find people who can work for them.”

It’s a problem that’s well known in the early education field. (more…)

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Early childhood teachers increasingly need and want bachelor’s degrees, but it can be tough to find the time and money to go to college. That’s why New America, a Washington, D.C., think tank, is looking at the potential for on-line college programs.

“Online degree programs have emerged as one way to create a more flexible and accessible pathway,” writes Shayna Cook in the New America report, “When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online: Challenges and Opportunities.”

A video of a panel discussion on this topic is posted here.

The report focuses primarily on pre-K lead teachers, “the segment of the early childhood workforce that is closest to achieving the bachelor’s degree credential and commensurate compensation.”

The report findings suggest that while there are great opportunities in online education, there are also great challenges. (more…)

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