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Archive for the ‘MA governor’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

There isn’t a lot of new state funding for early education and care for fiscal year 2017, but Massachusetts is holding steady, keeping existing funds flowing to provide high-quality learning experiences for young children.

Last week, Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito announced “$42 million in grant awards” for a number of initiatives to “support the quality and availability of early education and care programs” across the Commonwealth.

“High-quality early education and care programs provide children with a strong foundation for learning, academic success, and positive outcomes overall,” Baker said in a press release.

“We thank our early education providers and agency partners who work hard every day to provide our youngest learners with the tools they need to succeed in school and life,” Polito added. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The Massachusetts FY17 state budget eliminates funding for full-day kindergarten grants, an important program that supports kindergarten quality and districts’ transition from half- to full-day programs. Now local officials are responding to the news.

“More than $18 million has been slashed from a state program to expand full-day kindergarten, which could put a new strain on school districts’ already cash-strapped coffers,” the Gloucester Times reports.

“If unchanged, the cuts essentially gut funding for a full-day kindergarten program, forcing communities that depend on the money to trim their own budgets or otherwise make up the costs.

“School administrators are lobbying to restore the funding.

“Tom Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, said the cuts will hurt, especially because many school districts have been expecting that money to cover full-time kindergarten costs for the coming year.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

The Legislature has approved a $39.1 billion budget for FY17, one that will have a mixed impact on high-quality early education. Governor Baker now has 10 days to review the budget and make potential vetoes before signing it into law.

MassLive.com reports that the budget addresses “an estimated $750 million drop in revenues compared to what lawmakers originally proposed. The budget represents growth of just 2.6 percent compared to the 2016 budget.”

There are no new taxes or fees.

“The bill makes $260 million in spending cuts. It directs the administration to cut another $100 million through ‘procurement efficiencies,’ essentially coming up with places to trim spending across executive branch departments.”

The Boston Globe adds that the budget “avoids dramatic cuts by relying on a series of financial maneuvers to close a big gap in expected tax revenue for the fiscal year that begins Friday.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Yesterday, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released a $39.497 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2017. The budget emphasizes the theme of “resilience,” and it makes strategic increased investments in education.

In her introductory message to the budget, Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka emphasized the importance of investing in children. “There is no more important place to plant the seed of resilience than within our children. Strong, resilient children will grow up to be active contributors to a productive and thriving Commonwealth… A healthy environment, especially during a child’s early formative years, is crucial for laying the foundation of resilience.”

Visit the Senate budget website for more details. (more…)

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BethanyThis is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Bethany Whitemyer, and I’m the center director of the Bright Horizons in Pembroke. My center is located about 25 miles south of Boston and has programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and Kindergarten Prep. I’m proud to say that our center just received our third term of NAEYC accreditation this spring.

I started my career in early education and care as an Infant Teacher in 1992. I had recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, but I really loved working with children. I’ve also been a Lead Teacher, an Assistant Director, and a Field Director at Bright Horizons; as well as a Family Specialist at the Child Care Resource Center in Cambridge. I’ve used almost every employee benefit that Bright Horizons has to offer, including tuition reimbursement which I used when I went back to school for my master’s degree in Education at Lesley; the employee discount, which I used when my own children were younger; and the 401K, which I have been adding to for 20 years. (more…)

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IMG_0015This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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Hello my name is Dona Anderson and I am honored to have been asked to share my story.

I am currently employed at Square One. Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, we have several sites, however my classroom is housed in a pilot site on Main Street in downtown Springfield. I am currently in my 15th year in the educational field. I have also been a Hair Stylist for 26 years, but due to my dedication and love of educating our future scholars, I only work in the salon on weekends.

What’s important about my work: (1) is that every child who walks into my classroom feels welcomed and valued as an individual, (2) that every child feels safe and secure; without security learning can’t take place, and (3) ensuring that these young scholars know that learning is fun, so that they will go on and become striving citizens in their communities. The most important thing about my work is seeing the smile on a child’s face when they have learned the letters in their name, or a color, or shape, and knowing that I was privileged to have helped create that smile. (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

Early educators already know their salaries are too low, and now so do Boston Globe readers, thanks to last week’s article: “State raises expectations, but not pay, for preschool teachers.”

“While policy makers and educators promote the transformative power of early education,” the article says, “preschool teachers are still paid baby sitters’ wages — even though many of them have, at the state’s urging, continued their education and come to the job bearing bachelor’s degrees.”

“More than a decade after Massachusetts created a department to ensure that preschools would be viewed as potential laboratories of learning, not just playgrounds, the Department of Early Education and Care has succeeded in raising standards to professionalize the field but has not rewarded those expectations.”

One example is Kristin Hovey who earns $14.25 an hour. Hovey is “entrusted with the budding young minds of 18 disadvantaged children whose government-sponsored preschool education aims to lift them out of poverty.” (more…)

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