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Archive for the ‘MA Legislature’ Category

 

Get ready to vote next Tuesday!

Support candidates who prioritize high-quality early education and care.

Want to learn more about the election? Check out the Strategies for Children election webpage. It has information on the candidates and the ballot questions as well as resources on early education. All 200 state legislators are up for re-election, as is the case every two years. Our election page also has information on local races for state representatives and senators.

This year, Massachusetts is having a gubernatorial election. Jay Gonzalez, a Democrat, is challenging Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican. They have debated each other twice so far — and talked about early education. Click on the video above for a recap of the second debate. (The early education discussion starts at 22:31.) The final debate is tonight, Thursday, at 7pm on WCVB-TV.

The Boston Globe profiles both candidates here, noting of the two candidates: (more…)

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Melissa Perry

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

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My name is Melissa Perry. I currently reside in Salem, Mass., and I am newly employed at the Salem YMCA. I’ve been in early childcare education for just a little over 12 years.

To ensure any level of job satisfaction, this field requires a love of children. The most important benefit of being a childcare worker is the satisfaction of knowing I am providing quality care in the preschool setting where children can learn and practice the language and skills they will need to develop and grow.

I am proud to be a part of a group of individuals who do what they do because they love the job and the students, not because of the desire for a dollar. I am proud to be in a position where I am a mentor for those who need it, or a much-needed, positive authority figure to help guide the way. I like being part of something that people can’t possibly understand until they set foot in a classroom and teach. (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: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

“The recently passed state budget is one of the best ever for high-quality early education. As advocates, we will be pushing state administrators to get this funding out to families, educators, programs and communities.” – Amy O’Leary, Director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign

As our blog readers know, this year’s FY19 state budget is the first in 10 years to surpass the pre-recession high point (FY09) of state funding for early education and care.

This fall, Strategies for Children (SFC) will be paying close attention to two key items in the budget.

#1 Preschool implementation grants

Since FY16, Massachusetts lawmakers have awarded preschool planning grants to 18 communities that have all completed preschool plans.

Now state leaders have taken a first step toward implementation by awarding grants to turn preschool plans into action. The new FY19 budget includes $5 million for implementation grants — funds that must be spent by the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2019).

Communities are paying attention – they are busy revisiting their plans and getting ready to apply for this funding. They are sending their thoughts to the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and asking the department to issue the grant RFR (Request for Response) as soon as possible. (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.

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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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