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Archive for the ‘MA state budget’ Category

“… 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.”

Governor Charlie Baker, State of the Commonwealth Address, January 23, 2018

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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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JD Chesloff

We caught up with JD Chesloff, who just completed a 10-year term on the Board of Early Education and Care (EEC), and asked him about what he’s seen over the last decade.

As readers of this blog know, JD’s career includes working at Strategies for Children and in the State House. He was also chair of EEC’s Board, and he is currently the executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable.

What has he seen as an EEC board member?

“The organization has matured over the last 10 years. It started out as a fledgling idea of having all of the early childhood activity in one place.”

“It’s grown up over that time and now it’s a clearly equal member at the education table with K-12 and higher education.”

JD praises the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and its focus on ensuring that children and families have access to high-quality programs. The department has also wrestled with serving all children, making universal access part of its vision in a 5-Year Strategic Plan.

What was the most personally satisfying part of JD’s time on the Board? (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Here’s some great news: The Baker-Polito administration and the Massachusetts Legislature have just announced that early education will get an additional 2 percent rate increase.

This increase “is in addition to the 6 percent rate hike that all state-subsidized early education and care programs received earlier this year – worth $28.6 million – which was the largest rate hike in more than a decade,” according to a press release.

“The Board of Early Education and Care voted yesterday afternoon to approve the additional 2 percent rate increase, retroactive to July 1, 2017.” The increase will go to the daily reimbursement rate for center-based child care programs and for family child care systems. “The funding for the additional 2 percent rate increase was made possible through an increase in the fiscal year 2018 state budget.”

Governor Charlie Baker said of the increase, “This is a significant investment in rate increases that will help improve the quality of early education and care programs for thousands of families in every zip code.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

From Alaska to Maine, states all have their own early education policies – and these policies are changing all the time. To help advocates keep up, the Ounce of Prevention Fund has released its latest state-level policy update.

It’s “a snapshot of early childhood care and education budget and policy changes in states during the 2017 legislative sessions as of September 2017.” The policy update also doubles as a playbook of good ideas that states can borrow from each other.

A national nonprofit, the Ounce, “gives children in poverty the best chance for success in school and in life by advocating for and providing the highest quality care and education from birth to age five.”

Among the policy update’s key themes:

“The groundswell of support and acknowledgment of the importance of a child’s social-emotional development continues.” And a majority of states have “strong leadership, burgeoning champions and increased interest in supporting high-quality early learning and development.” (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Strategies for Children has updated its statewide kindergarten maps and charts. The latest data show 95 percent of kindergarten students enrolled in full-day programs, up from only 29 percent in 2000, and continuing the long-term trend towards full-day.

This school year, 56 districts charge tuition for full-day kindergarten, down from 77 in 2009-2010 school year.

However not all kindergarten trends are positive. A new survey by Strategies for Children shows that program quality may be declining for districts that previously received Kindergarten Quality grants from the state.

Kindergarten grants were great for Massachusetts. School districts used the funds to plan growth and expand high-quality programs, which helped the state achieve near-universal full-day kindergarten. But in fiscal year 2017, kindergarten grants were cut from the state budget(more…)

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