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Archive for the ‘MA state budget’ Category

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

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My name is Wheeler DeAngelis. I am a Teaching Fellow at Lemberg Children’s Center at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass. My first experience in the field was when I was a high school senior and volunteered for a child development class in a local elementary school, but I’ve been teaching professionally for two years.

I graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2015. I was a member of the Early Childhood Development and Education cohort – which I cannot speak highly enough about. UConn’s program focuses not only on the science of teaching (brain development, milestones, etc.) but also on the art of teaching (classroom management, parent interactions, and co-teaching). What really drew me to the program was the fact that it offers fieldwork and student teaching opportunities with infants and toddlers as well as preschoolers.

I think everyone who teaches young children has, at some point, been at a party where someone asked the same perplexing, astigmatic, exasperating question, “What can you teach babies?” The obvious answer is “EVERYTHING!” but as that rarely seems to satisfy people’s curiosity, I’ve come to rely on an analogy. (more…)

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Photo: Greater Lawrence Community Action Council’s Facebook page

Monday at the State House was Advocacy Day for early education and care and school-age programs. The message for this year was best summarized in a hashtag: #ValueEarlyEducators.

“About 200 early education supporters rallied outside the State House Monday, thanking lawmakers for their efforts to boost the salaries of early educators but urging them to do more to help young learners and workers whose wages place them on the edge of poverty,” according to the State House News Service.

The event was organized by MADCA, the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care, along with the Put MA Kids First coalition. (more…)

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Photo: Michele McDonald for Strategies for Children

More than 120 early education professionals and experts have signed an open letter that urges state lawmakers to increase their investment in early education.

“As Massachusetts legislators consider the state budget and investments in early education, we would like to highlight the widespread agreement among experts and researchers in the field about the effectiveness of such investments,” the letter says.

It goes on to point out that while: “Quality early childhood education can reduce the achievement gap.”

And: “Investing in quality early childhood education pays off.”

It is also unfortunately true that: “There are a number of pressing problems that undermine early education in Massachusetts.”

Among those who have signed the letter are professionals and experts we’ve blogged about before, including Anne Douglass of the University of Massachusetts Boston; preschool teacher Teddy Kokoros; and Jack Shonkoff of Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child.  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Today, the Massachusetts House Committee on Ways and Means released its state budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. The $40.3 billion budget represents a 3.8 percent increase over current year spending.

For early education and care, the House provides $10 million more than Governor Baker did in the proposal he released in January. House funding includes a $15 million rate increase to help address the workforce crisis in early education and care. Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey highlighted this increase in his letter to House members:

“Under the leadership of Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, the House Ways and Means budget prioritizes funding for early education and care with a focus on quality. The budget proposes a $15 million rate reserve for early educators. The rate reserve combined with other investments in the early education accounts will help to raise salaries and allow providers to recruit and retain high quality staff. This new funding ensures that Massachusetts’s youngest residents are receiving the best possible care during these highly formative years.”

The House proposal also provides $2.5 million for early childhood mental health supports and $700,000 for Reach Out and Read, which was not funded in the governor’s budget.

The Boston Globe covers the budget here.

Visit our website for more budget details.

House members have until Thursday, April 13, 2017, at 5 p.m. to file budget amendments, which will be debated the week of April 24th. Stay tuned for updates.

A reminder: Early Education Advocacy Day at the State House will be on April 24th, 2017, 10:30 a.m. Go to the Put MA Kids First coalition website for details.

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On Wednesday, the Baker-Polito Administration “announced a 6 percent rate increase for all early education programs that provide care for low-income families, worth $28.6 million, which represents the largest rate hike for subsidized early education and care programs in 10 years.”

“We are pleased to work with the Legislature to provide these rate increases for providers who care and educate our youngest residents,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “It is vital for these programs to be able to train and retain experienced staff, and these rates increases will help them accomplish that important aspect of any high-quality child care program.”

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“We know this is the first step in a longterm vision for early educators, families, and the Commonwealth,” said Amy O’Leary, who directs the early education campaign for Strategies for Children, an advocacy group. “And we look forward to working with legislative leaders throughout the budget process and the legislative session to move this issue to the top of the legislative priority list.”

“Governor Baker boosts funding for early education,” The Boston Globe, March 30, 2017

 

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Preschool Expansion Grants (PEG grants) have been generating a lot of action. As we blogged last week, researchers have found that communities are successfully using the federal funding to expand preschool offerings, and offer high-quality, effective programs that meet the needs of children and families.

We decided to chronicle some of these efforts in two recently released community stories.

One story focuses on Springfield where Dan Warwick, superintendent of the city’s public schools, was determined to create more opportunities for young children. The city bought a building at 15 Catharine Street and turned it into a busy hub of preschool activity.

“That’s one of the best programs in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,” Warwick says in the story. “Three private providers and the public schools in the same building, same coaches, same curriculum, really working together very well.” (more…)

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A series featuring communities that have a plan to expand preschool.
Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Kuh

Photo: Courtesy of Lisa Kuh, the Director of Early Education for Somerville Public Schools

 

Somerville serves only about 45 percent of the 4-year-olds who could potentially enroll in preschool.

Our Preschool Expansion Strategic Planning Grant inspired us to develop a three-year plan that builds upon existing partnerships and adds 108 additional seats in a mixed-delivery system. To do this in the upcoming 2017-18 school year, Somerville Public Schools (SPS) will expand its collaboration with Head Start to accommodate 36 more children in classrooms taught by both SPS and Head Start teachers.

In 2018-2020, we hope to add up to 72 slots across community-based childcare providers for income-eligible families. The cost per child includes pay equity for teachers, administrative support for directors, coaching and curriculum support, and comprehensive mental health and family services. We hope state funding will support this expansion. (more…)

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