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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Today, the Massachusetts Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education will hold a hearing for early education and care bills filed in the 2017-2018 session. Strategies for Children (SFC) urges the committee to report favorably on An Act Ensuring High-Quality Early Education H.2874 and S.240, lead sponsors: Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

 

The problem:

Massachusetts has a significant and persistent achievement gap that’s evident long before children enter school. Too many children show up for school already behind, and too many of them will never catch up. It’s time to level the playing field for Massachusetts children. The state could and should do more to invest in young children’s early learning.

Experts agree that high-quality preschool has a short- and long-term impact on young children’s educational, social and health outcomes. Preventing problems now, rather than remediating them later, is a cost-effective investment that benefits children and taxpayers alike.

High-quality preschool helps establish a strong foundation for children’s learning in K-12, but currently an estimated 40% of the commonwealth’s 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in any formal preschool program. (more…)

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Screenshot: Representative David R. Lewis’ Twitter page

 

“The waiting list for Pre-K is OVER in the House budget #ncpol #ncga,” North Carolina’s Representative David Lewis tweeted earlier this month.

The News and Observer reports:

“In a moment of bipartisan agreement, North Carolina lawmakers could eliminate the waiting list for free preschool in their budget negotiations this year.

“That would be huge news for thousands of parents across the state. Last year, nearly 5,000 children were on a waiting list for NC Pre-K, the state-run program that prepares 4-year-olds for school.”

North Carolina’s Governor Roy Cooper, a democrat, also supports eliminating the pre-K waiting list. His website explains: (more…)

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A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.

Children in one of our PEG classrooms. Eligibility requirements for PEG ensure that children in the program have not received previous educational opportunities and, presumably, would have started Kindergarten with no preschool experience

Lawrence is one of five Massachusetts communities implementing the federal Preschool Expansion Grant. This high-quality model funds 10 preschool classrooms for 130 of Lawrence’s children. The community also has a three-year strategic plan for further preschool expansion. Beyond serving more children, the plan includes cataloguing all local early education programs, engaging families in program planning, and creating a data sharing platform to help programs and agencies collaborate to serve children and families.

In Lawrence, the key components of school readiness for our 1,500 preschool and kindergarten children include connecting with families positively and early on; collaborating with community agencies in order to support children and teachers, as well as building systems for transitioning into the public schools; and supporting the whole child as well as the whole family so that we can improve stability for our families. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Last week, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $40.4 billion budget. During the budget debate, Senators adopted four amendments for early education, adding $500,000 to the total budget of the Department of Education and Care, including $100,000 for a comprehensive workforce study to be conducted by UMass Boston (3000-1020). Click here for specific line items and funding levels. 

The next step in the FY18 budget process: the House and Senate will appoint three members each to a Conference Committee, which will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate proposals. Once out of conference committee and approved by the House and Senate, the budget will go to Governor Baker. He will have ten days to review the bill, sign it, and announce any vetoes and amendments. 

Millions of dollars are at stake for high-quality early education and early educators in Massachusetts. Your advocacy is needed. Contact your legislators now!

At stake in the budget negotiations is $10 million for the early educator workforce salary rate reserve — as well as $15.1 million for preschool implementation and planning grants. Here’s a full list of early eduction budget items.

(more…)

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Screenshot: NIEER’s website.

 

The State of Preschool 2016 has just been released by NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) and it’s chock full of data about state-funded preschools during the 2015-2016 school year.

A great deal has changed since 2002, when NIEER released its first yearbook. At that time, “only two states served 50 percent of 4-year-olds and just three served more than 30 percent (which is now below the national average).”

Now, the yearbook points to examples of “remarkable progress,” noting:

“State funded preschool continued to grow in access, spending, and supports for quality,” and “enrollment and spending per child increased, as did states’ total investment in preschool.”

There is also bad news:  (more…)

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“More Burlington youngsters would get access to improved daytime health and education under a new program announced Thursday by Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“The mayor proposed that $500,000 be set aside annually to expand the capacity of existing, high quality early-learning facilities.”

“‘By investing in our youngest children today, we will reap a better educated, healthier and more just tomorrow,’ he said.”

“Several other community leaders voiced support for the city’s new Early Learning Initiative, including Vermont Agency of Education Secretary Rebecca Holcombe.

“Citing recent studies that link differences in cognitive development to income, Holcombe praised the initiative as an inspiration for the entire state.

“‘When we don’t pay attention to early care and learning, we are literally manufacturing inequity at the level of the brain.’”

“Pre-K education in Burlington gets big boost,” May 18, 2017, The Burlington Free Press

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Photo: Michele McDonald for Strategies for Children

More than 120 early education professionals and experts have signed an open letter that urges state lawmakers to increase their investment in early education.

“As Massachusetts legislators consider the state budget and investments in early education, we would like to highlight the widespread agreement among experts and researchers in the field about the effectiveness of such investments,” the letter says.

It goes on to point out that while: “Quality early childhood education can reduce the achievement gap.”

And: “Investing in quality early childhood education pays off.”

It is also unfortunately true that: “There are a number of pressing problems that undermine early education in Massachusetts.”

Among those who have signed the letter are professionals and experts we’ve blogged about before, including Anne Douglass of the University of Massachusetts Boston; preschool teacher Teddy Kokoros; and Jack Shonkoff of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.  (more…)

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