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Archive for the ‘MA state budget’ Category

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Last week, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $40.4 billion budget. During the budget debate, Senators adopted four amendments for early education, adding $500,000 to the total budget of the Department of Education and Care, including $100,000 for a comprehensive workforce study to be conducted by UMass Boston (3000-1020). Click here for specific line items and funding levels. 

The next step in the FY18 budget process: the House and Senate will appoint three members each to a Conference Committee, which will reconcile the differences between the House and Senate proposals. Once out of conference committee and approved by the House and Senate, the budget will go to Governor Baker. He will have ten days to review the bill, sign it, and announce any vetoes and amendments. 

Millions of dollars are at stake for high-quality early education and early educators in Massachusetts. Your advocacy is needed. Contact your legislators now!

At stake in the budget negotiations is $10 million for the early educator workforce salary rate reserve — as well as $15.1 million for preschool implementation and planning grants. Here’s a full list of early eduction budget items.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released its state budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. It’s a $40.3 billion budget proposal that would make critical investments in high-quality early education and care.

In her cover letter for the budget, Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), the chair of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, writes:

“We can sustain our common wealth by focusing on the fundamentals: education, health and wellbeing, and housing.

“Education has always been Massachusetts’ lodestar, from the origination of our Constitution to the birth of public education under the guidance of former Senate President and Franklin native Horace Mann.” (more…)

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2017 Gala Award Winners

The 16th Annual Early Educator Awards Gala was held last Friday. It was an evening of dinner, dancing, and awards that was emceed by our own Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign.

“Early education and care is getting a lot of attention at the local, state, and national level. None of the progress we have made for young children and families in Massachusetts would have been possible without the early educators who work across the state,” O’Leary said. “This is a critical time for all of us who are committed to young children and high-quality early childhood education. To succeed, we must all continue to work together. It was an honor to help celebrate this work at the gala.” (more…)

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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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