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Archive for the ‘MA Legislature’ Category

“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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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

By guest blogger Titus DosRemedios, Strategies for Children’s Director of Research and Policy

“When will my local community expand preschool?”

This is a question asked by many parents, teachers, elected officials, and other community members. Demand is high, but where is the funding? After all, Massachusetts made a legislative commitment to universal pre-kindergarten back in 2008, 10 years ago.

Now a state grant program will help communities take a small step forward.

Strategies for Children has always advocated for new state funding to increase access to high-quality early education. As we have worked with local communities over the years, we have come to believe that communities that want preschool should first be ready for preschool. And part of that readiness means having a plan, collaborating locally, and advocating.

Thankfully, the state has just made resources available for the first part of that equation.

On January 17, The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) released preschool planning grants for fiscal year 2018. Any community looking to expand its early learning opportunities for young children should apply.  (more…)

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Photo: Alastair Pike, Office of Governor Charlie Baker. Source: Governor Baker’s Flickr page.

On Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Governor Charlie Baker unveiled a $40.9 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2019. This would be a 2.6% increase over current spending levels.

In his State of the Commonwealth speech, Governor Baker highlighted recent investments in the early education and care workforce: “To help the next generation of students get off to a good start, we delivered, with your support, one of the largest increases in funding for early childhood education in over a decade in our 2018 budget. All in, we’ve increased state spending on early education rates, delivering a $45 million wage increase for teachers.”

The governor’s budget provides a $13.62 million increase for early education and care, primarily through EEC’s two access accounts: Supportive and TANF (3000-3060) and Income Eligible (3000-4060). The budget does not include a separate rate reserve for early educator salaries. Preschool planning grants were not funded. 

Visit the Strategies for Children’s website for budget details. The House of Representatives is currently working on its budget, due out in April. Contact your state representative to advocate for increased investments in high-quality early education.

For more information and advocacy opportunities, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

A guest blog by Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children.

We’re keeping an eye on early education trends, and we think there are six important things to watch for in 2018.

• FY19 state budget advocacy

Will the Governor and the Legislature continue their support for the early childhood education workforce? We hope so. Massachusetts has made important progress.

• Dear Massachusetts Legislature: Please expand preschool.

Last year, the Senate Ways and Means committee included $15 million for expansion, but this allocation did not make it into the final budget.

We are continuing to advocate for a bill that would invest in expansion in a small but powerful way. “An Act ensuring high quality early education,” H.2874 filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and S.240 filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett) would award preschool expansion grants to high-needs communities that are ready to go with comprehensive implementation plans. (more…)

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