Archive for the ‘National’ Category

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


What if child care were perfect?

It would be fun for kids, high-quality, easy for parents to afford, and readily available.

Child care providers would be highly-skilled and well paid.

And the country would feel the difference as more and more young children thrived.

Perfect is, of course, hard to come by, but Child Care Aware of America is pushing for vast improvements with a new policy agenda, “Igniting Possibilities, Promoting Innovation” — a blueprint that can be used by federal, state, and local leaders. (more…)

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


As you may have heard, last Friday Congress reached a bipartisan deal on the national budget, which President Trump signed. The agreement includes major funding increases for programs that affect children and families. It’s a wise investment that is making headlines.

“There’s still a lot to be worked out, and the deal gives Congress six weeks to hammer out the final details. But congressional leaders have already signaled what they plan to give to certain domestic programs,” according to an Education Week article featured on the website of the Center for Law and Social Policy, a national nonprofit.

The budget doubles funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant — an increase that would allow states to serve 230,000 more children, including 4,780 here in Massachusetts.

According to Education Week, “The bill provides $650 million to provide disaster relief to Head Start centers affected by the 2017 hurricanes that hit Florida, Puerto Rico, Texas and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

What if children started getting ready for kindergarten a few years before they were old enough to go?

Turns out, the children and their parents are better off, as David Jacobson writes in a new Kappan magazine article, “A powerful convergence: Community schools and early childhood education.” Jacobson is a principal researcher and technical assistance adviser at the Education Development Center here in Massachusetts, as we’ve blogged before. He is also the author of The P-3 Learning Hub blog.

What is a community school? It’s a place where school leaders work with community organizations, health care providers, and others to give students an education — and connect them a full range of services, from afterschool programs to dental care. These schools can become “centers of the community” that “are open to everyone – all day, every day, evenings and weekends,” according to the Coalition for Community Schools.

Community schools are also having a huge impact on early education, as Jacobson explains in his Kappan article:  (more…)

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This week we are focusing on the early education workforce, and we wanted to share a new resource from the think tank New America.

In December, New America released “Transforming the Early Education Workforce: A Multimedia Guidebook.”

Using video, text, a questionnaire, and other tools, the guidebook builds on the landmark 2015 workforce report released by the National Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

“Each state, community, and program is starting at different place,” New America explains. “Without guidance, taking on this work can feel overwhelming. (more…)

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“We cycled through one child care arrangement after another. And every transition sent me into a near-panic. Every time it represented a failure. One night, after I’d put the kids to bed, my 78-year-old Aunt Bee called long-distance from Oklahoma to just see how I was doing. And I said sure, I’m find, I’m doing okay, I’m fine.

“And in the middle of a sentence, I just started to cry. And once I started, I could not stop. I was failing. I was failing my kids. I was failing my family. I was failing my teaching. I was doing laundry at 11 o’clock at night and class preps after midnight. And I felt like I was always behind. And then I said something that shocked me when I said it. I told Aunt Bee I was going to quit my job. My beloved teaching job. It’s like it just fell out of my mouth.

“Aunt Bee’s waiting on the other end long-distance. She waits for me to quit crying, waits for me to blow my nose and get a drink of water. And then she very matter-of-factly said, ‘I can’t get there tomorrow, but I can come on Thursday.’ And she arrived with seven suitcases and a Pekinese named Buddy and stayed for 16 years.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) speaking at the National Women’s Law Center 45th Annual Gala, October 18, 2017

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


“Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?” journalist Jeneen Interlandi asks in the title of a recent New York Times Magazine article.

The article tells the story of Kejo Kelly, an early educator in Springfield, Mass., who is devoted to her work despite earning a low salary, weathering personal tragedies, and covering for absent colleagues.

“The community Kelly taught in was low-income by all the standard metrics,” the article says. “Many of her students came from single-parent households — some from teenage mothers, at least one from foster care — and nearly all of them qualified for state-funded child care vouchers.”

Teachers at Kelly’s preschool program earn some $10 per hour, and staff turnover is high. The preschool can afford to “cover basics like food and art supplies but not enough to pay for on-site behavioral specialists or occupational therapists.” That’s why:

“Kelly kept her own fractured vigil — taking note of which students couldn’t control their emotions, or sit still for the life of them, or engage with others in a meaningful way — and giving those students whatever extra attention could be spared. She sometimes imagined the classroom as a bubble, inside which her students were temporarily spared from the hazards of everyday life. Her job, as she saw it, was to hold that bubble open for the ones who couldn’t always hold it open themselves.” (more…)

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“Head Start programs are highly concentrated in low-income and rural areas of Georgia, providing vital access to early education and supporting at least $71 million in total economic output there, according to a new study by Georgia State University’s Center for State and Local Finance.

“The analysis found that in many rural, low-income Georgia counties more than half of centers serving 3- and 4-year-olds receive Head Start funds, and that some of the highest amounts of per-child funding are in these same rural areas of the state.

“Nicholas Warner, who specializes in education finance for the Center for State and Local Finance, authored the report, analyzing the impact of the funds across the 16 regional education service areas, or RESAs, as defined by the Georgia Department of Education.

“Four regions with low median incomes — Oconee, Chattahoochee-Flint, Southwest Georgia and Heart of Georgia — received more than $540 per child under the age of 5 in 2015. Together, these four areas received $47 million in direct Head Start funding, which supported $71 million in economic output.

“‘For the most impoverished areas of the state, these funds are an important factor in economic growth, supporting jobs and wages and fueling spending in the Head Start centers and many other local businesses as well,’ Warner said.”

“Study: Head Start Provides Rural Georgia $71 Million In Economic Output,” Georgia State University, January 11, 2018

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