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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

 

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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Mayor Martin Walsh greets kids on the playground after the Universal Pre-K announcement at ABCD Head Start Walnut Grove. (Mayor’s Office Photo by John Wilcox)

 

Yesterday, at the ABCD Head Start Walnut Grove program in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the City of Boston is investing $15 million to expand access to free, high-quality pre-K.

“ ‘This is a game-changer for the young people of our city,’ Walsh said Tuesday, surrounded by school administrators and representatives from community groups set to partner with the city to fully implement pre-K programming,” the Boston Globe reports.

The funding will support the “Quality Pre-K Fund,” which will guarantee equitable access “for all 4-year-olds living in Boston within five years,” a press release explains.

The Quality Pre-K Fund will “support the creation of 750 high-quality seats in the nationally recognized pre-K programs in Boston Public Schools (BPS) and in community-based organizations, such as ABCD Head Start, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, and many others,” the press release says, adding, “When Mayor Walsh took office, the gap of high-quality pre-K classroom seats stood at 1,500, and over the last six years this number has been cut in half.” (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

Across Massachusetts, communities are ready to expand their high-quality preschool programs.

All they need is more state funding.

And with budget season in full swing, now is a great time to ask the Legislature to invest well and wisely in early education and care.

Communities have been waiting for preschool funding for several years. In 2016, “thanks to state-funded planning grants,” 13 Massachusetts communities developed preschool expansion plans, as Titus DosRemedios explains in this Alliance for Early Success blog post. DosRemedios is Strategies for Children’s director of research and policy. He adds:

“The grants piggyback off of Massachusetts’ federal Preschool Expansion Grant, which provides high-quality full-day, full-year preschool to more than 850 four-year-olds annually in five cities.”

Since 2016, the list has grown to 18 communities, thanks to two more rounds of preschool planning grants from the Department of Early Education and Care that were funded in the FY17 and FY18 state budgets. (more…)

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Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at PHLpreK’s second anniversary. Photo: Samantha Madera for the City of Philadelphia.

 

“PHLpreK has transformed the lives of my students, and it’s all thanks to the city’s sweetened drink tax. In 2016, leaders in Philadelphia united behind a bold approach to provide new opportunities to its most vulnerable and underprivileged kids to break the cycle of poverty, injustice, and inequity.

“The tax has generated $137 million in revenue, which has already had a significant impact.

“More than 2,000 new pre-K seats have been created, per the city’s count — with several thousand more on the way — and nearly half of these new seats have the highest quality ratings as identified by Pennsylvania’s Keystone Stars program. More than 200 new teachers have been hired at early childcare centers, two-thirds of which are owned by women and minorities.”

“Soda tax-funded preK will drive Philadelphia’s future,” an opinion piece by Meyata McMichael, a PHLPreK instructor, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 13, 2019

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we want to say thank you to Tom Weber. He has announced that he will step down as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) in June.

“We are grateful for Tom Weber’s commitment as Commissioner of Early Education and Care. During his six years as commissioner, he led EEC out of its historic fiscal low point, which was caused by the effects of the Great Recession,” Chris Martes, Strategies’ president and CEO, says in a statement.

“Since 2013, Massachusetts has made steady progress on early education, and thanks to Commissioner Weber’s leadership, the early education and care field is in a much stronger position, both fiscally and programmatically. We have seen increased public investments in the early education workforce, in program quality, and in preschool expansion during his tenure. He is a tireless advocate for young children and families, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors.” (more…)

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“For example, the Episcopal Health Foundation (EHF) in Texas recently committed $3.4 million to give the state’s youngest residents the best chance for healthy futures. The prominent health-focused funder has already made 12 grant commitments to organizations across the state to impact the lives of local children from pregnancy through age three. But unlike many early childhood grants that focus on the educational capacity of babies and toddlers, this effort is largely about promoting physical and mental health.”

“A big emphasis in EHF’s grantmaking here is the need for strong attachment between babies and caregivers to promote early brain development. One of EHF’s strategies in this regard is supporting healthcare providers, including all levels of clinicians and staff that work with pregnant mothers and infants. The other strategy is supporting community-based organizations that can train families on supporting brain development of their own babies before and after birth.”

“Among Regional Foundations, Early Childhood Commands Growing Attention,” by
Alyssa Ochs, Inside Philanthropy, February 6, 2019

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

At a recent meeting of the Early Education and Care Workforce Council, The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) announced the recipients of the fiscal year 2019 preschool expansion grants.

Known as Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (CPPI), the program awarded funding to six communities: New Bedford, Somerville, North Adams, Springfield, Lowell, and Boston. The funds will support preschool programs from February 1 through June 30, 2019. EEC expects to renew these grants in fiscal year 2020.

This round of preschool expansion is funded with state dollars. However, more state funds will be needed in FY2020 to meet the demand for preschool funding from other communities. A total of 12 communities applied for the CPPI grant, and at least three additional communities wanted to apply but didn’t because of their limited time and capacity to meet the January 4th deadline. (more…)

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