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Archive for the ‘NAEYC’ Category

Amy O’Leary and Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

What a year it has been at Strategies for Children! Here are some of our highlights:

• Looking back to look forward

In December of 2018, we gathered at the State House to celebrate the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008. “It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of the many colleagues who joined us. At the event, Amy O’Leary moderated, and we heard from a lineup of speakers including Haddad, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), other state officials, and local early education program directors. Many of the speakers remarked that though they have had different roles over the last ten years, their commitment to high-quality early education for all remains strong.

It was also a year of transition at the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). In June we thanked Commissioner Tom Weber for his six successful years of leadership. We then welcomed new EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy back to Massachusetts with a “meet-and-greet” co-hosted by the early education field. We look forward to working with Commissioner Sam on a shared vision for her department’s future. (more…)

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Amy O’Leary just turned 50! And she’s celebrating her milestone birthday by raising money for early education and care!

Anyone who is interested in celebrating with Amy can join her by donating to the “$50 for 50 Years” fundraising campaign. The money will support the advocacy work of NAEYC, the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

As readers of this blog know, Amy is the director of Strategies for Children’s Education for All campaign, and she’s the president of NAEYC’s Governing Board.

Not surprisingly, Amy spent her actual birthday in Nashville, Tenn., at the opening session of the NAEYC’s annual conference.

“What better way to celebrate,” O’Leary says, “than with 9,000 early childhood educators at a national conference?!?”

That’s where she kicked off the fundraising campaign “to support NAEYC – this incredible organization that is now and forever in my heart. I want to give back to a place that has given me and so many others so much.”

“We can celebrate and make a difference. I know how every dollar counts when we are waging this battle to support and elevate the profession and demand high-quality early learning for every child.”

Please donate. And please help Amy spread the word about this campaign by sharing it through your personal and social media networks.

And as Amy says: “WAHOO! THANK YOU for your support!”

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“It is with great excitement and deep gratitude that we share NAEYC’s newest position statement, Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education,” Amy O’Leary and Rhian Evans Allvin write in a blog post from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

O’Leary is NAEYC’s board president as well as director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign. Evans Allvin is NAEYC’s executive director.

 

Amy O’Leary and Rhian Evans Allvin

 

The new statement is a rallying call and a roadmap of recommendations that “breaks new ground for the field and for NAEYC.”

The statement is one of NAEYC’s five foundational position statements, and it is endorsed by more than 100 leading organizations.

This statement’s core – “All children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that enable them to achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society” – pours a foundation for achieving a two-part goal to: (more…)

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Amy O’Leary

“Two of the questions that almost always come up are, ‘How did you go from being a preschool teacher to a director to a lobbyist?’ and ‘How did you get involved in policy and advocacy?’ ”

“I often respond first with, ‘I believe in learning by doing. So far I have been able to use the same skills I needed to captivate 5-year-olds at circle time to engage with legislators at the state house.’ I want early educators to believe that they are leaders and can do anything.”

“As I share my story, I am also thinking about LEAP—the Leadership Empowerment Action Project—which helped to provide an incredible foundation in advocacy and policy to me and to early educators across Massachusetts and the country.”

 

“From Our President. On the Journey to Leadership and Empowerment,” by Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All Campaign at Strategies for Children and president of the NAEYC Governing Board, Young Children, May 2019

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Presidential Seminar panelists. Front row: Zaina Cahill and Rachel Giannini. Back row: Llanet Montoya, Mary Graham, and Amy O’Leary.

 

Earlier this month at the NAEYC Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., the Presidential Seminar featured a panel discussion about advocacy with both seasoned advocates and newer advocates who are just finding their advocacy voices.

“To achieve universally accessible, high-early early education and care in our country, we need to build a broad-based movement that is organized, guided and supported by a diverse leadership that has as its core the voices of those who directly work with children and families,” the panel’s description explains, adding that to make a difference for children, families, and the field, early educators should understand that, “We are the ones we have been waiting for – we need to be the change we want to see in the world!”

The panel was planned and moderated by Amy O’Leary, NAEYC’s president and the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All campaign.

The panel discussion was also featured in the Education Dive article, “Panelists stress need for educators to play dual role as pre-K policy advocates.” (more…)

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(America heads to the polls today. Be sure to vote!)

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In red or blue states, early childhood education is popular across the country.

That’s what the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) has found after analyzing years of its own and other organization’s national polling data.

“Our analysis of this aggregate survey data found that national polling over the last decade shows quality early childhood education is a top priority issue for Americans of every political persuasion,” FFYF explains.

Every year, there has been “a consistent and growing desire among Americans across the political spectrum” for more investments and innovation in early childhood programs, especially for children from low-income families, FFYF’s report, “Early Childhood Education: The Public is Ready for Action,” explains.

This analysis creates “an evidence-based vision of where Americans stand on investing in high-quality ECE, and where policymakers can make stronger connections with their constituents’ priorities. This arsenal of individual polls paints an even brighter picture when studied together as a collective body of research.”

Among the report’s key findings: (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

California is trying to lower the number of preschool expulsions by giving these programs a way to fund more access to mental health services. As Education Week reports, this is the result of a new state law that was enacted last month.

Specifically, the law increases the reimbursement rate by 5 percent for each low-income child, age 0 to 5, who receive services. As Education Week explains, “…if a classroom has 20 children and 10 of them are subsidized, the program would be reimbursed at a rate of 10.5 children.”

This law builds on a 2017 California law that makes it harder for preschool programs that receive state funding to expel students.

On the website State of Reform, Sarah Neville-Morgan, the director of the Early Education and Support Division at the California Department of Education, says “Expulsion works against everything that is best practice for children, families and child care programs. This law creates the support system necessary to keep young children in preschool and child care facilities.” (more…)

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