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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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In “other industries across many states, apprenticeships are a well-established and effective way to train workers with ongoing mentorship, on-the-job experiences, and corresponding coursework. The success of this model has encouraged places like Philadelphia to utilize Registered Apprenticeships to train early childhood educators.

“Not only are Registered Apprenticeships about providing indispensable on-the-ground experience for prospective early educators, but they are paid. With many early educators earning near-poverty level wages, the earning while learning element of the Registered Apprenticeship model is crucial. Apprenticeships can also serve as a route to earning a college degree and a pathway for career advancement, further breaking barriers that current and future early educators potentially face.”

“Earning While Learning with Early Educator Apprenticeship Programs,” by Cara Sklar and Julie Brosnan, New America, February 21, 2019

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Next month, the Departments of Early Education and Care and Elementary and Secondary Education are sponsoring a free conference called, “Building Inclusive Communities in Early Childhood.”

The conference will be held on Friday, March 15, 2019, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (check-in starts at 8:30 a.m.) at the Devens Common Center in Devens, Mass. Click here to register.

“Inclusion in early childhood programs refers to including children with disabilities in early childhood programs, together with their peers without disabilities,” according to a 2015 joint statement from the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

These children often “face significant barriers to accessing inclusive high-quality early childhood programs…” (more…)

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“As most any couple will tell you, you’re never actually fighting about the dishes. You’re fighting about what doing the dishes says about how you’re valued and respected. In Congress, likewise, and in our early childhood education (ECE) community, we’re often not fighting about the thing we appear to be fighting about. Instead we are grappling with questions about motives and compromises. We’re wrestling with questions about whose voices get to lead, get sidelined, and get dismissed. And we’re confronting questions of control, fear, privilege, power, and trust. Let’s call this the ‘work beneath the work.’

“As a new Congress struggles to find a way forward, and ECE attempts to detangle its ‘thorny knot,’ policymakers, advocates, and influencers are engaging with (or avoiding) that deeper work. But as early childhood advocates who must engage, it is imperative that we assume responsibility for the systems and sequences we design, especially those of us (and I count myself among them) who have, in some way and because of some unearned attributes, benefitted from one or many of these systems.”

“The Work Beneath the Work: What We’re Fighting About When We’re Fighting About Our Profession,” by Lauren Hogan, New America, February 19, 2019

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Here’s an advocacy message from Amy O’Leary about the new legislative session.

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Happy New Year! Are you ready to take action? 
We need each and every voice delivering the same, clear message to our elected officials at the local, state, and national level. We need to prioritize young children and families and the early education and care workforce. We must work together to make our voices heard.

Below you will find some key dates and ways to take action RIGHT NOW. Please share this information. Make a plan to get things done by the end of January. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Even if you have done this before, you need to do it again. YOU can do it. Our children are counting on us. We are happy to help. Contact us for more information.

FIRST, make sure you know who represents you in Washington and in the Massachusetts State House. Click here and enter your home address on the form and click the “Show my results” button. Print out these results so that you will have a list of your elected officials. (more…)

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Screenshot: Center for American Progress

 

Now that Election Day is over, the country has a new cohort of leaders — and new opportunities to make progress on early education.

That’s the theme of a new report — “Early Childhood Agenda for Governors in 2019” — from the Center for American Progress.

“With 20 new governors and 16 re-elected governors starting new terms in January,” the report notes, “2019 has the potential to be a year of big change at the state level. This is particularly the case in the early childhood policy arena, as many newly elected governors discussed early childhood education as part of their campaigns.”  (more…)

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“It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of herself and some her colleagues who gathered at the State House on Tuesday for “Looking Back to Look Forward,” a Strategies for Children celebration of the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008.

Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad

Sponsored by Haddad and Senator Robert Antonioni (D-Leominster) and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick, the new legislation was a bright step forward. It officially established Massachusetts’ Universal Pre-K (UPK) program, and outlined the responsibilities of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and for its board and commissioner.

“We had to block out some of the people who were naysayers,” Haddad said at the Looking Back event. But now, she explained, more and more legislators understand that building a universal pre-K program is “the right thing to do.”

The Legislature has never been able to fully fund UPK, but it has made progress, investing in scholarships for early educators and leveraging the power of federal preschool grant funds. (more…)

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