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Archive for the ‘MA Legislature’ Category

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

Across Massachusetts, communities are ready to expand their high-quality preschool programs.

All they need is more state funding.

And with budget season in full swing, now is a great time to ask the Legislature to invest well and wisely in early education and care.

Communities have been waiting for preschool funding for several years. In 2016, “thanks to state-funded planning grants,” 13 Massachusetts communities developed preschool expansion plans, as Titus DosRemedios explains in this Alliance for Early Success blog post. DosRemedios is Strategies for Children’s director of research and policy. He adds:

“The grants piggyback off of Massachusetts’ federal Preschool Expansion Grant, which provides high-quality full-day, full-year preschool to more than 850 four-year-olds annually in five cities.”

Since 2016, the list has grown to 18 communities, thanks to two more rounds of preschool planning grants from the Department of Early Education and Care that were funded in the FY17 and FY18 state budgets. (more…)

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Screenshot: Representative Alice Peisch’s Twitter page

 

On Friday, a large and diverse crowd – that included Governor Charlie Baker, New England Patriot football players, mayors, educators, parents, students, and legislators – gathered at the State House for an important hearing on education funding.

At the heart of the hearing were calls to update Chapter 70, the funding formula that calculates how much state funding Massachusetts public schools receive. The funding formula was put into place in 1993, and has not been updated in 26 years. In 2015, guidance for overhauling Chapter 70 was released in a report written by the Foundation Budget Review Commission, which was co-chaired by Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston), who was then a co-chair of the Joint Committee on Education, and by Representative Alice H. Peisch (D-Wellesley), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. (more…)

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Advocacy Day. Source: The Twitter page of MADCA. The Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care.

 

Yesterday, more than 250 early educators, advocates, and parents came to the Massachusetts State House to meet and to ask their legislators to support early education and care.

“This should be one of our top priorities,” House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) said at the event.

“What you do is of critical importance,” Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) said. The state budget process, Peisch noted, is an enormous competition among worthy causes for a limited pool of resources. “It’s really important that you come in and advocate.”

Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) tweeted: “Amazing turnout of early educators and advocates this AM for Early Education Advocacy Day. Nothing is more important than building resiliency in our youngest children and our #earlyeducators are doing the work every day. Thank you!” A former social worker, Spilka stressed the importance of giving early educators the tools they need to address the effects of trauma in children’s and families’ lives. (more…)

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Advocacy Day 2018. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Come to the State House for Advocacy Day on Wednesday, March 13, 2019!

Join early educators, advocates, and parents from across the state who will gather in the Great Hall in the Massachusetts State House.

Last year’s Advocacy Day was great.

This year’s should be even better.

Confirmed speakers to date include: House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley), Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester) and Department of Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber.

Contact your state Senator and Representative now to schedule a meeting for 11 am on Advocacy Day morning.

To find out who your state legislators are, call 1-800-462-VOTE or visit: www.wheredoivotema.com.

And don’t forget to bring artwork from children in your programs!

Share the day on social media using the hashtag #EarlyEdDayMA!

For more information, contact Amy O’Leary at 617-330-7384 or aoleary@earlyeducationforall.org.

And as Speaker DeLeo said during Advocacy Day, 2014, make the rounds at the State House and “Tell your stories.”

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

At a recent meeting of the Early Education and Care Workforce Council, The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) announced the recipients of the fiscal year 2019 preschool expansion grants.

Known as Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (CPPI), the program awarded funding to six communities: New Bedford, Somerville, North Adams, Springfield, Lowell, and Boston. The funds will support preschool programs from February 1 through June 30, 2019. EEC expects to renew these grants in fiscal year 2020.

This round of preschool expansion is funded with state dollars. However, more state funds will be needed in FY2020 to meet the demand for preschool funding from other communities. A total of 12 communities applied for the CPPI grant, and at least three additional communities wanted to apply but didn’t because of their limited time and capacity to meet the January 4th deadline. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Childen.

 

What’s the best way for states to pay for pre-K programs?

Should states use grants or tap into their K-12 funding formulas?

These are the questions posed by Aaron Loewenberg in a recent New America blog post, but the answers depend on whom you ask.

 

School funding formulas

“One obvious approach is to incorporate pre-K into the existing K-12 school funding formula,” W. Steven Barnett and Richard Kasmin wrote in an article published last year in The State Education Standard, the policy journal of the National Association of State Boards of Education.

Like the one used here in Massachusetts, state funding formulas calculate the cost of educating a “typical” student. The formulas then make adjustments to account for the added expense of educating students who have more needs, including students who have disabilities, come from low-income families, or are English language learners. (Massachusetts is currently debating changes to its school funding formula, and bills to do so have been filed by Governor Baker, and the House and Senate.) (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

Here’s an advocacy message from Amy O’Leary about the new legislative session.

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Happy New Year! Are you ready to take action? 
We need each and every voice delivering the same, clear message to our elected officials at the local, state, and national level. We need to prioritize young children and families and the early education and care workforce. We must work together to make our voices heard.

Below you will find some key dates and ways to take action RIGHT NOW. Please share this information. Make a plan to get things done by the end of January. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Even if you have done this before, you need to do it again. YOU can do it. Our children are counting on us. We are happy to help. Contact us for more information.

FIRST, make sure you know who represents you in Washington and in the Massachusetts State House. Click here and enter your home address on the form and click the “Show my results” button. Print out these results so that you will have a list of your elected officials. (more…)

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