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Archive for the ‘MA Legislature’ Category

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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Yesterday, hundreds of early educators from across the state — many wearing green and snapping cell phone pictures – gathered for a rally at the State House steps for Advocacy Day. An upbeat band, featuring tuba and trombone players, wove through the crowd, filling Beacon Street with music.

 

Leo Delaney

 

“It really is about the workforce,” Leo Delaney said. He’s the president of the board of MADCA (the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care), and he was the first speaker. “Without quality staff, you don’t have quality.” (more…)

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“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Massachusetts has prioritized the field of early education and care (EEC), investing in both access and quality. 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 includes $18 million to cover a 5% rate increase for center-based EEC providers, as well as an increase to the add-on rate for Department of Children and Families (DCF) children. Lastly, we create a new $8.5M EEC workforce development initiative to coordinate professional development and higher education opportunities for early educators in conjunction with Massachusetts community colleges. Overall, this funding ensures Massachusetts’s youngest residents receive the best possible care from experienced teachers during their most formative years.”

Massachusetts House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez, in a letter to House members that accompanied the House Ways and Means fiscal year 2019 state budget, April 11, 2018

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Yesterday, the Massachusetts House Ways and Means committee released its state budget proposal for fiscal year 2019. This budget makes strategic new investments in early educators and in high-quality early education and care, including:

  • a $20 million rate reserve for early educators, enabling programs to support teacher compensation, recruitment, and retention
  • a new $8.5 million EEC workforce development initiative, and
  • increases for Access Management and Head Start

Overall, the budget totals $41 billion, representing a 3.1 percent increase over current fiscal year 2018 appropriations. (These numbers could change if, as MassLive.com reports, voters approve several ballot questions that could impact state revenues.)

In his letter to House members, House Ways and Means Chair Jeffrey Sánchez said:

(more…)

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This week we are focusing on the early education workforce, and we wanted to share a new resource from the think tank New America.

In December, New America released “Transforming the Early Education Workforce: A Multimedia Guidebook.”

Using video, text, a questionnaire, and other tools, the guidebook builds on the landmark 2015 workforce report released by the National Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

“Each state, community, and program is starting at different place,” New America explains. “Without guidance, taking on this work can feel overwhelming. (more…)

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“We will build on the House’s ongoing commitment to providing high-quality early education and care, in large part by supporting our EEC workforce. This means developing an action plan to build a sustainable workforce development system… one that is responsive to the distinct needs of the EEC field.

“We know that the EEC years provide a unique opportunity for us to impact learning outcomes for children.

“We also know that it is an equally vital time for addressing mental health. I am currently working with the Chairs of Education and Mental Health, as well as the Child Advocate, to coordinate efforts as we again prioritize children’s long-term social, emotional and academic success by investing in early childhood mental health services.”

From a speech by House Speaker Robert DeLeo, January 31, 2018

To read the entire speech, click here.

For news coverage of the speech, click here.

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