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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

There’s great budget news for children and families.

Last week, Congress officially passed a $1.3 trillion spending bill that dramatically increases funding for early education and care.

In total the bill’s provisions add up to “an increase of more than $3 BILLION for child care and early learning,” according to an email from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC).

The funding includes a $2.37 billion increase for the Child Care and Development Block Grant and a $610 million increase for Head Start, as well as “new funding for other key early learning and after-school programs.”

NWLC says it’s “the single largest increase in child care funding in history.”

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren said of this budget win, “It was a challenge to find affordable child care for my own kids – and it’s even harder for parents today. Which is why I fought tooth and nail to nearly double child care funding in this year’s federal budget.” (more…)

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“This budget starts New Jersey down a four-year path to expanding pre-K statewide. We will add an additional $57.6 million to build upon the $25 million in new funding the Legislature ensured for this current year for a total investment of nearly $83 million.

“Decades of studies tell us that pre-K builds a strong foundation for a child’s educational future. We know it has profound effects on closing the achievement gap. We know it has positive benefits that continue even into adulthood – that every dollar we put into pre-K pays us back many times over throughout that child’s life.

“In 2008, the state made a promise to expand pre-K statewide. That promise to our next generation remains unfulfilled. This investment moves us closer to fulfilling it.”

New Jersey Governor Philip Murphy’s budget address, March 13, 2018

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“The Murphy Administration recognizes that providing our youngest learners with high-quality early education will have long-lasting benefits. The school budget appropriation builds on the $25 million in new funding the Legislature ensured for this current year and includes $57.6 million in new pre-K funding, the largest increase in over a decade, for a total investment of nearly $83 million. This funding continues to support fiscal 2018 expansion districts and focuses additional resources on additional districts that can launch programs quickly and effectively. Under this budget, over 3,500 four-year-olds are expected to gain access to pre-K this year.”

“Governor Murphy Introduces First Budget, Moving New Jersey Towards a Stronger and Fairer Future,” news release from the governor’s office, March 13, 2018

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

As you may have heard, last Friday Congress reached a bipartisan deal on the national budget, which President Trump signed. The agreement includes major funding increases for programs that affect children and families. It’s a wise investment that is making headlines.

“There’s still a lot to be worked out, and the deal gives Congress six weeks to hammer out the final details. But congressional leaders have already signaled what they plan to give to certain domestic programs,” according to an Education Week article featured on the website of the Center for Law and Social Policy, a national nonprofit.

The budget doubles funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant — an increase that would allow states to serve 230,000 more children, including 4,780 here in Massachusetts.

According to Education Week, “The bill provides $650 million to provide disaster relief to Head Start centers affected by the 2017 hurricanes that hit Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

By guest blogger Titus DosRemedios, Strategies for Children’s Director of Research and Policy

“When will my local community expand preschool?”

This is a question asked by many parents, teachers, elected officials, and other community members. Demand is high, but where is the funding? After all, Massachusetts made a legislative commitment to universal pre-kindergarten back in 2008, 10 years ago.

Now a state grant program will help communities take a small step forward.

Strategies for Children has always advocated for new state funding to increase access to high-quality early education. As we have worked with local communities over the years, we have come to believe that communities that want preschool should first be ready for preschool. And part of that readiness means having a plan, collaborating locally, and advocating.

Thankfully, the state has just made resources available for the first part of that equation.

On January 17, The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) released preschool planning grants for fiscal year 2018. Any community looking to expand its early learning opportunities for young children should apply.  (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Do you have exciting ideas about early education that need funding?

If so, consider sending them to the inaugural Zaentz Early Education Innovation Challenge.

Sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the Zaentz challenge is “calling for individuals or teams to submit new ideas, fresh thinking, and strategic approaches that drive lasting change in early education.”

Projects that are accepted will receive up to $15,000 in implementation funding.

Why now? Because “there is tremendous interest and excitement along with expansion in access in many cities and towns across the nation.”

“We are seeking ideas and approaches that promote positive outcomes at multiple levels of the early education system, including the home, classroom, program and networks, and/or policy.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Here’s some great news: The Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Legislature have just announced that early education will get an additional 2 percent rate increase.

This increase “is in addition to the 6 percent rate hike that all state-subsidized early education and care programs received earlier this year – worth $28.6 million – which was the largest rate hike in more than a decade,” according to a press release.

“The Board of Early Education and Care voted yesterday afternoon to approve the additional 2 percent rate increase, retroactive to July 1, 2017.” The increase will go to the daily reimbursement rate for center-based child care programs and for family child care systems. “The funding for the additional 2 percent rate increase was made possible through an increase in the fiscal year 2018 state budget.”

Governor Charlie Baker said of the increase, “This is a significant investment in rate increases that will help improve the quality of early education and care programs for thousands of families in every zip code.” (more…)

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

Photo: Courtesy of Stephanie Adornetto

 

In Pittsfield, we know how important early education is. Children who don’t get a strong start can’t read proficiently by third grade. In our city, 2017 MCAS data shows that only 44 percent of third graders are proficient in English and only 44 percent are proficient in math. We want to see these numbers improve because, to put it bluntly, children who struggle to read may also struggle to succeed.

Because helping children takes a team approach, in 2012, the Berkshire United Way formed Pittsfield Promise, a coalition focused on ensuring that our third-graders can read proficiently. To achieve this goal, members of the coalition work closely with early childhood programs, social service and health providers, businesses, and community members.

In 2016, Pittsfield was awarded a preschool expansion grant. We are using this funding to create a collaboration between the Pittsfield Public Schools and two local center-based early childhood programs.

In this mixed-delivery model, the Pittsfield Public Schools is the lead partner and fiduciary agent. (more…)

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