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Archive for the ‘Federal’ Category

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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It’s time to start getting ready for Census 2020.

The official Census 2020 day is April 1, 2020, a year away. But schools, elected officials, and community organizations are working hard today to make sure everyone is counted a year from now. An accurate Census count will mean that cities and states get the legal representation and federal funding that matches their population counts.

Early educators should join this effort. Please encourage your contacts and communities to participate in the Census.

As we’ve blogged, Census results affect Head Start and other educational opportunities. There is, however, a risk that the Census may fail to count an estimated one million children, which is what happened during the 2010 Census.

“The Census Bureau acknowledges the long-standing undercount of young children in decennial censuses and in Census Bureau surveys,” the Census explains on its website. (more…)

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Governor Gina Raimondo at the Early Childhood Center in Johnston, R.I. Source: Gina Raimondo’s Flickr page.

 

Now that election season is over and governors have been sworn into office, they’re making good on their promises to expand “preschool and other early-childhood programs,” according to a recent article in Education Week.

Across the country, governors are building on the early education legacy left by the Obama administration, including the federally funded Preschool Expansion Grants. This state-level leadership is crucial, particularly now when the Trump administration is focusing less on early learning.

“I think right now it’s unrealistic to expect a big push for pre-K from the federal government,” Aaron Loewenberg, an education policy analyst with the think tank New America, told Education Week.

Fortunately, that’s not having an impact on governors. (more…)

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“On February 5, 2019, President Trump addressed the nation and declared the State of the Union strong. But something was conspicuously absent. Education, specifically early education, is a fundamental necessity in any strong union, or nation, and yet, was a missing piece of the President’s address.”

“Throughout the entirety of his speech, there were key themes including the value of research and technological advances. Over the last century, technology has led to innovative growth and advancements that drive a stronger economy. However, the fundamental and necessary means to achieve these advancements were noticeably absent — a strong, national education system.”

“Mr. President, you forgot one thing. The children.” By Mark Reilly, Vice President of Policy & Government Relations of Jumpstart, a national early education nonprofit. Posted on Medium, February 7, 2019

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“As the 116th Congress gets underway, refiling the Child Care for Working Families Act should be on its to-do list.”

[The bill would, in part, ensure “that no low- to moderate-income family pays more than 7 percent of its household income on child care.”]

“The financial burden placed on young families seeking quality care and education for their children isn’t sustainable. In a June 2018 survey of 1,657 registered voters nationally, 83 percent of parents with children under five had “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problems finding appropriate care. At 54 percent, even most voters without young children said that finding quality, affordable child care is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem in their area.

“That’s probably why support for greater public investment in early care and education is overwhelmingly popular across political divides and party lines.

“Early Education Should Be On The 116th Congress’ Agenda. Here’s Why,” an opinion piece by Anne Douglass, WGBH

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When parents across the country can’t find child care, the economy loses a staggering $57 billion per year in lost earnings, productivity, and revenue.

That’s a crisis, according to a new report — “Want to Grow the Economy? Fix the Child Care Crisis” — released by ReadyNation, an organization of business executives who are “building a skilled workforce by promoting solutions that prepare children to succeed in education, work, and life.”

“The practical and economic consequences of insufficient child care are enormous, impacting parents, employers, and taxpayers.”

The report notes that parents face shortages in three areas: access, affordability, and quality. Specifically:

• “Nearly one-third of parents (32 percent) report having difficulty finding child care.”

• “The average annual cost of center-based child care for infants is more than the average cost of public college tuition and fees in 28 states,” and

• “Only 11 percent of child care nationwide is accredited.” (more…)

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Photo: Michele McDonald for Strategies for Children

 

Back in 1965, the federal government launched Head Start. It was a national preschool program for low-income families and part of the war that President Lyndon Johnson declared on poverty.

Today, Head Start serves 900,000 children a year at a cost of $9.6 billion in 2017. And the program is praised by its graduates, including Massachusetts State Senator Sal DiDomenico. But Head Start also has critics who have challenged its value and suggested that over time, the program’s benefits fade.

Now a new study from the University of Michigan gives critics an answer. Head Start works. It produces lifelong benefits for children and a solid return on investment for taxpayers.

To conduct the study, researchers “used longitudinal data from children who attended Head Start between 1965 and 1980,” according to the First Five Years Fund. This data set was linked to “long-form 2000 Census and 2001-2013 American Community Surveys” as well as to birth information from the Social Security Administration. (more…)

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