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Archive for the ‘MA governor’ Category

Photo: Amy O’Leary for Strategies for Children

 

On Monday, civic partners gathered in the city of Springfield and broke ground on what will be a $14 million Educare Center, a school that will open next year and provide “a full-day and full-year program for up to 141 children from birth to age five each year,” MassLive.com reports.

As we’ve blogged, Springfield’s educators and philanthropists have called this Educare project a “dream come true,” one that promises to provide the city’s children with increased access to a high-quality early education program.

Educare “began in Chicago in 2000,” public radio station WAMC reports. It’s a research-based model that has four core features: “data utilization, embedded professional development, high-quality teaching practices, and intensive family engagement,” according to Educare’s website.

“Among the innovations at Educare,” WAMC adds, “is the placement of teachers (more…)

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Governor Charlie Baker (directly in front of Curious George) announces new facilities grants at the Crispus Attucks Children’s Center in Dorchester.

 

This summer, Massachusetts awarded $4 million in grants to help early education and after-school programs improve their physical spaces. The money comes from the Early Education and Care and Out of School Time (EEOST) Capital Fund, which was created by the state Legislature.

As we’ve blogged before, engaging classrooms, lively safe playgrounds, and well-designed bathrooms are some of the key features that create nurturing environments for young children.

But programs often can’t afford the costs of badly needed construction and renovations. That’s why these capital improvement funds are so important.

In a statement, Governor Charlie Baker said, “Renovating and repairing facilities helps achieve our goal of improving the quality of early education and care.” (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Your advocacy has paid off!

On Thursday, July 26, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker signed a $41.8 billion state budget for fiscal year 2019. The governor made no vetoes to early education and care line items. This year’s budget is the first in 10 years to surpass the pre-recession, fiscal year 2009 high point of state funding for early education and care.

This year’s budget highlights include $20 million for the early educator salary rate reserve, $10 million for a new early educator workforce development initiative, $5 million for preschool expansion, $30 million for quality improvement, and more.

Please take a minute to thank your legislators and Governor Baker for this historic investment in high-quality early education. 

Visit the Strategies for Children website for full budget details.

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Rebecca Ruiz

 

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

* * *

I run my own childcare service directly from my home. In September, I will have been in the education and care field for eight years.

I support children by creating an academically and emotionally supportive environment. I do this by scaffolding lessons that educate the whole child, by giving my daycare children the tools they need to be socially and emotionally successful, and by creating a welcoming environment for all families.

I’ve had many Yes! I know you can do it moments in my career, and every single one of them can be considered my most proud moment. Most of these moments occur when I see the skills that my daycare children have acquired through hard work and persistence, such as when a child learns how to walk, say their first word, trace their name, and read their first word. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Wednesday, Massachusetts’ six-member legislative conference committee released a $41.88 billion state budget for fiscal year 2019 that reconciles the differences between the House’s and Senate’s budget proposals. The Legislature passed the budget, and it now heads to Governor Baker who has 10 days to sign it into law, and can make line item vetoes.

Massachusetts readers, take action: Ask Governor Baker to sign the budget, and continue his support of high-quality early education and care.

The committee invested in high-quality early education. Nine out of 13 line items of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) were in play because the House and Senate had funded them at different levels.

In each instance, the committee chose the higher funding level: $20 million for the early educator salary rate reserve, $10 million for a new early educator workforce development initiative, $5 million for preschool expansion, $1 million for Reach Out and Read, and more. Visit our website for details.

We thank the members of the Conference Committee:

House Ways and Means Chairman Jeffrey Sánchez (D-Boston)
Representative Stephen Kulik (D-Worthington)
Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren)
Senate Ways and Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka (D-Ashland)
Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem), and
Senator Vinny deMacedo (R-Plymouth)

MassLive.com covers the budget here.

A Boston Globe budget story is posted here.

To advocate, send a message to Governor Baker today.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Thursday, May 10, 2018, Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka released a $41.42 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2019.

The Senate budget is slightly higher than Governor Baker’s proposal and slightly lower than the House budget.

For early education and care, the Senate budget invests $5 million in preschool expansion, increases funds for child care resource and referral agencies, and level funds most other programs. Unlike the House, the Senate budget does not include a rate reserve for early educator salaries.

The Senate budget’s executive summary states: “Skills learned in early childhood directly impact future academic achievement and personal and economic success. The Committee’s budget invests in kids beginning at birth and seeks to remove barriers to access and quality care.”

Additional reporting on the Senate budget and its implications can be found at MassLive and The Boston Globe.

The Senate will debate amendments to the budget on May 22. Visit Strategies for Children’s website for a complete list of early education line items.

Stay tuned for more information on amendments and advocacy opportunities.

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) has released its annual yearbook — a comprehensive look at publicly-funded preschool programs — and found a mix of progress and stagnation: There are more preschool spots, but states aren’t investing enough in program quality. This year’s assessment also includes a special report on Dual Language Learners.

“Recent changes in federal policy – including the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – make it clear that progress in early education depends more than ever on the states,” NIEER Senior Co-Director Steven Barnett said.

Looking at the 2016-2017 academic year, the Yearbook notes that:

• across the country “state-funded preschool program enrollment exceeded 1.5 million children” or “33 percent of 4-year-olds and 5 percent of 3-year-olds”

• state funding for preschool rose two percent to some $7.6 billion, an increase of nearly $155 million (adjusted for inflation) since 2015-2016

• state funding per child was $5,008, a slight decline from 2015-16 adjusted for inflation

• 3 state-funded preschool programs met all 10 new quality standards benchmarks

• 10 programs met fewer than half, and

• 7 states do not invest any state dollars in preschool

In its assessment of state policies for Dual Language Learners, NIEER reduces its findings to two words: “Needs Improvement.”  (more…)

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