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Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

 

Preschool programs are often in classrooms, except when they’re not.

In Worcester, Mass., children enrolled in Head Start go beyond the classroom to the Worcester Art Museum, where they make art, and where that art is part of an exhibit — “World of Provocation: Making Learning Visible” – that closes tomorrow. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

On Thursday, May 23, 2019, the Massachusetts Senate passed a $42.8 billion state budget for fiscal year 2020. This includes $74 million in amendments.

“The Senate voted 40-0 around 10:30 p.m. Thursday to adopt the spending plan, which was amended over the course of three days of debate in the Senate Chamber,” according to a State House News Service story.

During debate, most amendments for early education and care were either withdrawn or voted down. Among these amendments were proposals for an early educator rate increase and for preschool expansion grant funding. The amendments that did pass totaled $2.6 million, and they added small amounts of funding for specific programs – East End House in Cambridge, Community Action Agency of Somerville, Square One in Springfield, Nurtury in Boston, Jumpstart, and Parent-Child Home Program – as well as funding for statewide resource and referral agencies [Access Management, 3000-2000].

The final Senate budget provides $16.6 million less for early education than the House budget.

To reconcile the differences between House and Senate budgets, a six-member conference committee will begin negotiations soon. Check back for advocacy opportunities.

For a complete list of early education line items, click here.

For more information contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

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The working world has a big hole. It’s an empty space where child care should be.

That’s the core message of a new report — “High-Quality Early Child Care: A Critical Piece of the Workforce Infrastructure” — from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

“For the most part, contemporary policies and the modern economy necessitate that all parents work and yet, early child care is not part of the workforce infrastructure,” the report says.

“Current options for licensed early child care exert serious limits on parental work.”

This means parents are “on their own,” combing through a child care system with high costs, limited access, and varying degrees of quality.

“The market is mostly private, where parents bear the costs of paying for child care and providers may need to compromise on quality—as indicated by persistently low child care worker wages—in order to make child care affordable for parents.” (more…)

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Photo: Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Twitter page

 

Imagine a preschool teacher who has the entire community on speed dial.

This preschool teacher could consult with local education professors, public school teachers, or a local librarian.

All these contacts would help the preschool teacher grow professionally and become more effective in the classroom.

If this sounds like a powerful idea, then check out the Improving Teacher Quality-Early Learning Toolkit. It’s a blueprint developed by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) that explains how higher education, public education, community partners, and early educators can all collaborate to improve outcomes for young children. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, the Senate Committee on Ways and Means released a $42.7 billion state budget proposal for fiscal year 2020.

Compared to FY19 levels, the Senate’s budget makes modest increases in funding for early education and care. But overall, this budget allocates less for early childhood than both Governor Charlie Baker’s budget and the House budget.

Most notably, the Senate proposal does not include:

• a rate increase for early educators [3000-1042]

• grant funding for community colleges to run early educator workforce development programs [3000-7066], and

• funding for Reach Out and Read [3000-7070]

The Senate budget does include $5 million for preschool grants under the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative [3000-6025]. This critical funding would allow the Department of Early Education and Care to continue some of its preschool expansion activities in FY20, but this allocation falls short of Strategies for Children’s recommendation of $25 million. That is the amount needed to maintain support for preschool programs that have expiring federal grants, sustain state-funded preschool grants that have just begun in six communities this spring, and offer grants to additional communities.

Senators have until Friday to file budget amendments, so check back for updates.

Click here for a complete list of the Senate’s proposed early education budget line items.

And for more information, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

The Massachusetts state budget process is underway, so it’s time to advocate for early education and care.

So far, Governor Charlie Baker has filed his FY20 budget proposal.

The House has also debated and passed its budget. And while the House budget includes an important investment in early educator salaries, through a $20 million rate reserve, it does not include any funding for preschool expansion grants. This could have been addressed by a $15 million amendment filed by Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston) that would have funded the state’s Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative. But ultimately, this amendment was not included in the education and local aid amendment that did pass.

Here’s the recent funding history:

Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative (3000-6025)
FY19 Final budget: $5,000,000
FY20 Governor’s budget: $2,500,000
FY20 House budget: not funded
FY20 Senate budget: TBD (more…)

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The award-winning Reading Success by 4th Grade initiative is moving to a brand new and very appropriate home, the Springfield City Library.

Reading Success by 4th Grade is a nationally recognized, community-wide effort to ensure that all the children living in Springfield, Mass., can read proficiently by the end of third grade.

Launched in 2009, the program was run by Sally Fuller, and its home was the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation.

Now that Fuller has retired, Davis foundation officials want the initiative to have a home in the community.

Among the initiative’s guiding principles:

• the best interventions begin before kindergarten;

• parents and caregivers are their children’s first and most important teachers, and

• both home and educational environments must support children’s early literacy skills

The initiative has had notable success. It “was recognized at the national Grade-Level Reading Week conference in Denver in 2017 for initiating citywide strategies that raised the level of third-grade reading proficiency from 33 percent to 44 percent,” MassLive reports. (more…)

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