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Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

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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Carla Duran Capellan. Photo source: Chad d’Entremont’s Twitter page

 

“…one voice that’s usually missing in discussions about how best to support student outcomes is the one that arguably matters the most: students themselves.”

– Condition of Education in the Commonwealth Report
“Student Voice: How Young People Can Shape the Future of Education”
The Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy
January 24, 2019

 

Adding more students’ voices to educational policy debates was the theme of the Rennie Center’s annual Condition of Education event, which was held last week in Boston. At the event Rennie released an accompanying report, “Student Voice: How Young People Can Shape the Future of Education.”

Building on this theme, Rennie’s event featured older students who reflected on their past academic experiences. This year’s Condition of Education report also looks at how Worcester has incorporated the voices of preschool aged children.

“Believe in your students,” Carla Duran Capellan said at the event. “Trust that they have the ability to make change and let them lead.” As a high school student, Capellan participated in Generation Citizen, a program that lifts students’ voices. (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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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Last week, Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey announced a new, $355,000 initiative, the “Trauma-Informed Care for Young Children Grant Program.”

The program will “fund training and capacity building of early education and care providers to address the needs of children experiencing trauma,” according to a press release. Forms of trauma include “violence, separation from a loved one, stress due to poverty or related to the opioid crisis.”

As we’ve blogged before, violence, opioid addiction, and toxic stress are all challenges that early educators find among the children in their classrooms.

“Children who have experienced violence, substance use, and other trauma are especially in need of high quality care,” Healey said in the press release. “This grant will provide funding to strengthen these programs to help our most vulnerable children succeed.”  (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

What does early education and care look like in Massachusetts? Is it mostly center-based? Or are families mostly relying on grandma and their next-door neighbors?

Answers are emerging from the Early Learning Study being run by the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

Drawing from a survey of 90,000 Massachusetts households, researchers found that:

• 55 percent of families were enrolled in formal care settings

• 14 percent enrolled in informal care settings

• 14 percent used a mix of formal and informal care, and

• 17 percent of children were care for solely by their parents (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center offers key advice to states: Focus on making early childhood systems more efficient and effective.

“This issue is important for two reasons,” the report says. “First, support for early childhood programs can only be sustained if the programs are viewed as effective and efficient in their use of public funds.”

Second, inefficiencies can create “real obstacles to access” for the very children that states want to reach.

“When families have to apply to multiple programs, housed across multiple agencies, often with duplicative paperwork requirements and inconsistent eligibility criteria, many simply give up.”

Improving efficiency is demanding work. States have to manage their own early childhood funds, and they receive child care funding from multiple federal sources including Child Care Development Block Grants, Head Start, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Each funding stream has its own rules and requirements. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Across the country, parents are discovering that they live in “child care deserts,” communities where they can’t find an appropriate spot for their children.

This is a particularly tough problem for the parents of very young children, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress called, “Understanding Infant and Toddler Child Care Deserts.”

The report looks at supply and demand in nine states — Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont, and West Virginia — and in Washington, D.C.

Nationally, child child care deserts aren’t just a problem in large, rural states, but also in the rural areas of smaller states — and anywhere where demand for child care is greater than supply. Past studies have shown, for example, that Massachusetts has a deficit of 93,119 child care slots. So when current programs are full to capacity, nearly 1 in 4 Massachusetts children is left without access to child care.” (more…)

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