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Archive for the ‘Massachusetts Cities and Towns’ Category

Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

Across Massachusetts, communities are ready to expand their high-quality preschool programs.

All they need is more state funding.

And with budget season in full swing, now is a great time to ask the Legislature to invest well and wisely in early education and care.

Communities have been waiting for preschool funding for several years. In 2016, “thanks to state-funded planning grants,” 13 Massachusetts communities developed preschool expansion plans, as Titus DosRemedios explains in this Alliance for Early Success blog post. DosRemedios is Strategies for Children’s director of research and policy. He adds:

“The grants piggyback off of Massachusetts’ federal Preschool Expansion Grant, which provides high-quality full-day, full-year preschool to more than 850 four-year-olds annually in five cities.”

Since 2016, the list has grown to 18 communities, thanks to two more rounds of preschool planning grants from the Department of Early Education and Care that were funded in the FY17 and FY18 state budgets. (more…)

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Screenshot: Representative Alice Peisch’s Twitter page

 

On Friday, a large and diverse crowd – that included Governor Charlie Baker, New England Patriot football players, mayors, educators, parents, students, and legislators – gathered at the State House for an important hearing on education funding.

At the heart of the hearing were calls to update Chapter 70, the funding formula that calculates how much state funding Massachusetts public schools receive. The funding formula was put into place in 1993, and has not been updated in 26 years. In 2015, guidance for overhauling Chapter 70 was released in a report written by the Foundation Budget Review Commission, which was co-chaired by Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz (D-Boston), who was then a co-chair of the Joint Committee on Education, and by Representative Alice H. Peisch (D-Wellesley), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Education. (more…)

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“The Children’s Museum of Greater Fall River and BayCoast Bank organized the Early Childhood Summit, designed to come up with ideas to emphasize the importance of what a child learns before age 5 and to lobby for more money and resources for pre-kindergarten programs.

“ ‘The purpose is to educate our business leaders and our legislative leaders on the importance of early childhood education,’ said Jo-Anne Sbrega, the executive director of the Children’s Museum.”

“Summit emphasizes importance of early childhood education,” by Kevin P. O’Connor, Herald News Staff Reporter, March 15, 2019

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Interns are an important part of our community here at Strategies for Children. They bring fresh eyes and new ideas, and they enable us to extend our reach in the work we do with communities and legislators.

Currently, we have four interns whom we’re happy to introduce: Vivian Terkel-Gat, Annapurna Ayyappan, Marisa Fear, and Casey Peeks. Here’s a little more about each of them.

 

Vivian Terkel-Gat

Vivian Terkel-Gat

I am currently a student in the Graduate Program of Gender, Policy, and Leadership at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I received a master’s degree in Educational Counseling for Early Education from Tel-Aviv University. In Israel, I worked for the Ministry of Education for 15 years as an educational counselor.

As a graduate intern with Strategies for Children, I research local governance models in different states. This research helps inform Strategies’ local Community Readiness initiative as well as its state-level advocacy and policy agenda for high-quality early education.

During my Strategies internship, I have learned about Massachusetts’ complex early education system. I have also learned about how advocacy works on the local and state level: how organizations form coalitions and work together to achieve mutual goals. Amy and Titus welcomed my participation in community meetings and at various events that Strategies has hosted. They also answered my many questions about early education and helped me choose a topic for a policy brief that I wrote. My internship has been an insightful experience. (more…)

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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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