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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

The Massachusetts state budget process is underway, so it’s time to advocate for early education and care.

So far, Governor Charlie Baker has filed his FY20 budget proposal.

The House has also debated and passed its budget. And while the House budget includes an important investment in early educator salaries, through a $20 million rate reserve, it does not include any funding for preschool expansion grants. This could have been addressed by a $15 million amendment filed by Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston) that would have funded the state’s Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative. But ultimately, this amendment was not included in the education and local aid amendment that did pass.

Here’s the recent funding history:

Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (3000-6025)
FY19 Final budget: $5,000,000
FY20 Governor’s budget: $2,500,000
FY20 House budget: not funded
FY20 Senate budget: TBD (more…)

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Mayor Marty Walsh at a Pre-K-to-2nd Grade Art Exhibition held by the Higginson Inclusion School. (Mayor’s Office Photo by Isabel Leon)

 

“It was a 2013 campaign pledge from Marty Walsh that, if voters picked him, every 4-year-old in Boston would have the right to go to a high-quality preschool. Under a budget proposal submitted last week, Walsh is making good on that promise, with a $15 million infusion to fund the remaining 750 seats needed to reach full coverage.

“That means by 2025 Boston will be able to offer preschool to about 4,000 4-year-olds.”

“So what about the rest of the state? Only about a quarter of preschool age children in Massachusetts have publicly financed early education and care, according to advocacy group Strategies for Children. The state has helped fund efforts like Boston’s and is planning to continue to do so. House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s budget proposal for the third year in a row calls for a $20 million increase to boost the pay of early educators.

“Boston has led the way on universal pre-K, and now it’s time for other cities in the Commonwealth to follow suit. It will take a village: a variety of funding mechanisms and the willingness to experiment.”

“Editorial: Boston’s path to universal preschool offers lessons for other cities,” The Boston Globe, April 15, 2019

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Screenshot: NIEER’s “The State of Preschool 2018”

 

“The State of Preschool 2018,” an annual look at pre-K programs in all 50 states, has just been released by NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research).

The 2018 yearbook, which analyzes data from the 2017-2018 school year, is a mix of good news and unmet challenges.

Across the country “more children are attending state-funded pre-K,” NIEER says in a press release, “but state funding is failing to keep pace, resulting in low compensation for pre-K teachers that too often undermines classroom quality…”

“Close to 1.6 million 3- and 4-year-olds attended state-funded pre-K programs in the 2017-18 year, with 85% of those children being 4-year-olds,” Education Dive reports. “This year’s report also includes two states — Montana and North Dakota — that operated pre-K programs for the first time last year. Overall, however, there has been little growth in enrollment — half of a percentage point for 3-year-olds and less than a percentage point for 4-year-olds.” (more…)

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh confers with a future 4-year-old. (Mayor’s Office Photo by John Wilcox)

 

Earlier this month, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh promised to invest $15 million in expanding the city’s preschool programs.

This week, a Boston Globe editorial – “Boston’s path to universal preschool offers lessons for other cities” — weighs in, pointing to Boston’s pre-K strengths.

Among the strategies that other cities could borrow from Boston:

• expanding preschool through a mixed delivery system, “a combination of public school classrooms and community-based centers with funding from the city, state, federal government, and even foundations,” as well as

• increasing starting teacher salaries from $35,000 to $53,000 to lower teachers’ attrition rates

Statewide, the need for more preschool spots is considerable, the Globe says, citing some of our data:

“Only about a quarter of preschool age children in Massachusetts have publicly financed early education and care, according to advocacy group Strategies for Children.”

Boston’s investment is particularly important now because federal Preschool Expansion Grants are ending, and at the state level, the House Ways and Means Committee’s proposed budget does not include funding for Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative — although a budget amendment would include $15 million for the partnership.

Please read the editorial to learn more — and be sure to add your comments!

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the House Committee on Ways and Means released a $42.7 billion state budget for fiscal year 2020. In his letter to members, Chairman Aaron Michlewitz (D-Boston) highlighted investments in early education.

“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Massachusetts has prioritized the field of early education and care, investing in both access and quality,” Michlewitz wrote. “This budget continues these historic investments, including another $20 million rate reserve for early educators, which will help to raise salaries allowing education providers to recruit and retain high quality staff. This funding ensures Massachusetts’s youngest residents will receive the best possible care from experienced teachers during their most formative years.” (more…)

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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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