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“Even before my daughter was born, I struggled to find childcare for her. I searched months before she was born. Once she was born, I placed her on two waiting lists—one was three months long, and the other one year. The whole situation was stressful because my six weeks of maternity leave was running out. Luckily my employer allowed me to work part-time until I secured childcare. I relied on my network of family and friends to find a babysitter.”
– a Parent

 

“Our pay rate is not a living wage.”
– Center director

 

“Fifty hours of direct childcare plus 10–15 hours of curriculum and food prep, cleaning, shopping, and paperwork is too much with a family of my own to care for. Employment and tax laws make it too difficult to hire an employee, and if I did, parents can’t afford a tuition increase to cover this cost. I already make far less than minimum wage.”
– Family Child Care provider

(more…)

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“Gov. Cuomo late Wednesday night gave his approval to a city plan to build a cutting-edge pre-kindergarten school at the New York Hall of Science.

“Cuomo, just before midnight, signed legislation that would allow the city Department of Education to use a portion of Flushing Meadows-Corona Park for the $50 million Pre-K Center, which would enroll 300 kids and focus on science, engineering, math and the arts.”

“‘STEM education is an important part of my education policy and the purpose underlying the bill is a noble one,’ Cuomo wrote in his approval measure.”

“Cuomo approves plan to build pre-K at New York Hall of Science,” The New York Daily News, November 30, 2017

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Study after study keeps coming to the same conclusion: Early education works.

Now new research drives home the point: Early education provides benefits that last through high school.

That’s the result of a meta-study published by the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

“It is exciting that our results show that the benefits of early childhood education are sustained through elementary school and beyond,” study coauthor Dana McCoy, an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, said in a press release.

“These results provide further evidence for the potential individual and societal benefits of expanding early childhood education programming in the United States.”

The researchers conducted a meta-study of 22 early education studies conducted between 1960 and 2016. (more…)

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Nonie Lesaux. Photo source: Harvard Graduate School of Education

Nonie Lesaux — the academic dean at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education (HGSE) – appeared on NECN to talk about HGSE’s statewide study on early education.

The study, Lesaux says in the video, is “designed effectively to strengthen early learning in the U.S. and increase the pathways to success for young children.”

“What we don’t really know is how to scale high-quality programs,” Lesaux adds. “What are the key ingredients that would allow us to do so much better by so many more children…?”

Lesaux is also the author of the Strategies for Children report “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success.”

The Boston Globe covered the study here.

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

The American Public Health Association has adopted new policy statements, including this one on preschool:

 

“Support for universal preschool — With more than 60 percent of American 4-year-olds not having access to publicly funded preschool programs and knowing that education is a key social determinant of health, calls for federal, state and local government to implement a voluntary, universal and publicly funded preschool programs based on sliding fee scales for all preschool-age children regardless of citizenship status. Urges governments and preschools to ensures high-quality preschool standards, and calls on federal, state and local officials to make sure preschool teachers and staff are prepared to work with children and are paid livable wages. Calls on state and local school districts to create and implement anti-racist, culturally relevant and trauma-informed approaches in preschool. Encourages collaborations between health professionals, community health centers and preschool programs to support wrap-around services such as immunizations and health screenings.”

 

The association “champions the health of all people and all communities,” and these policy statements are summaries of full statements that will be posted on line next year.

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

From Alaska to Maine, states all have their own early education policies – and these policies are changing all the time. To help advocates keep up, the Ounce of Prevention Fund has released its latest state-level policy update.

It’s “a snapshot of early childhood care and education budget and policy changes in states during the 2017 legislative sessions as of September 2017.” The policy update also doubles as a playbook of good ideas that states can borrow from each other.

A national nonprofit, the Ounce, “gives children in poverty the best chance for success in school and in life by advocating for and providing the highest quality care and education from birth to age five.”

Among the policy update’s key themes:

“The groundswell of support and acknowledgment of the importance of a child’s social-emotional development continues.” And a majority of states have “strong leadership, burgeoning champions and increased interest in supporting high-quality early learning and development.” (more…)

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“Selma Sanchez spent the summer in a hiring frenzy. She’s the program director of the Child Development Consortium of Los Angeles (CDCLA), and at one of the preschool sites, almost all of the jobs needed to be filled.

“ ‘In July we lost our director,’ Sanchez said. ‘June and July – we lost three teachers.’

“Most of the staff left to work at a Head Start center that’s recently opened nearby – the federal preschool program pays slightly better than her state subsidized program. One lead teacher left the preschool in Canoga Park after 10 years, for a job as a teacher’s aide at Head Start – fewer responsibilities, more pay.”

“ ‘People who are trying to run these programs are tearing their hair out,’ said Marcy Whitebook, who runs the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.”

“Whitebook, who’s spent decades studying child care employment issues, lays out a simple case for higher wages: ‘If the science says the brain is most sensitive in these early years, and if we know every community has child care centers, and if we can be reasonably assured the robots are not gonna take over this area of work, then why aren’t we making this a middle class job?’ ”

“It’s getting even harder to hire early childhood educators,” KPCC Radio, October 30, 2017

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