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Archive for the ‘Pre-kindergarten’ Category

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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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Last week, Massachusetts’ Attorney General Maura Healey announced a new, $355,000 initiative, the “Trauma-Informed Care for Young Children Grant Program.”

The program will “fund training and capacity building of early education and care providers to address the needs of children experiencing trauma,” according to a press release. Forms of trauma include “violence, separation from a loved one, stress due to poverty or related to the opioid crisis.”

As we’ve blogged before, violence, opioid addiction, and toxic stress are all challenges that early educators find among the children in their classrooms.

“Children who have experienced violence, substance use, and other trauma are especially in need of high quality care,” Healey said in the press release. “This grant will provide funding to strengthen these programs to help our most vulnerable children succeed.”  (more…)

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Photo: Michele McDonald for Strategies for Children

 

Back in 1965, the federal government launched Head Start. It was a national preschool program for low-income families and part of the war that President Lyndon Johnson declared on poverty.

Today, Head Start serves 900,000 children a year at a cost of $9.6 billion in 2017. And the program is praised by its graduates, including Massachusetts State Senator Sal DiDomenico. But Head Start also has critics who have challenged its value and suggested that over time, the program’s benefits fade.

Now a new study from the University of Michigan gives critics an answer. Head Start works. It produces lifelong benefits for children and a solid return on investment for taxpayers.

To conduct the study, researchers “used longitudinal data from children who attended Head Start between 1965 and 1980,” according to the First Five Years Fund. This data set was linked to “long-form 2000 Census and 2001-2013 American Community Surveys” as well as to birth information from the Social Security Administration. (more…)

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“…in this era of snapchats, tweets, Facebook and Instagram posts, putdowns and smack-downs, I’d ask you all to remember that good public policy is about perseverance and collaboration.

“Many times, it is a story written frame by frame by many players who write it over time, relentlessly pursuing an objective.”

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“We doubled the earned income tax credit for 450,000 low income working families, invested over $100 million in new funding into our early education system and reduced the use of hotels and motels to shelter homeless families by over 95%.”

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“Twenty-five years ago, Massachusetts wasn’t a national leader in public education.

“Since then, we’ve achieved remarkable success by working together on a series of education reforms. As a result, Massachusetts students have scored number one on the National Assessment of Educational Progress exams in English and math for much of the past decade. And last year finished first on the Advanced Placement exams as well.

“But when it comes to the difference in performance between urban and suburban school districts, we can and must do better.”

“Transcript: Gov. Baker’s Inaugural Address For His 2nd Term,” WBUR, January 3, 2019

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

What does early education and care look like in Massachusetts? Is it mostly center-based? Or are families mostly relying on grandma and their next-door neighbors?

Answers are emerging from the Early Learning Study being run by the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE).

Drawing from a survey of 90,000 Massachusetts households, researchers found that:

• 55 percent of families were enrolled in formal care settings

• 14 percent enrolled in informal care settings

• 14 percent used a mix of formal and informal care, and

• 17 percent of children were care for solely by their parents (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

A new report from the Bipartisan Policy Center offers key advice to states: Focus on making early childhood systems more efficient and effective.

“This issue is important for two reasons,” the report says. “First, support for early childhood programs can only be sustained if the programs are viewed as effective and efficient in their use of public funds.”

Second, inefficiencies can create “real obstacles to access” for the very children that states want to reach.

“When families have to apply to multiple programs, housed across multiple agencies, often with duplicative paperwork requirements and inconsistent eligibility criteria, many simply give up.”

Improving efficiency is demanding work. States have to manage their own early childhood funds, and they receive child care funding from multiple federal sources including Child Care Development Block Grants, Head Start, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Each funding stream has its own rules and requirements. (more…)

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Screenshot: Center for American Progress

 

Now that Election Day is over, the country has a new cohort of leaders — and new opportunities to make progress on early education.

That’s the theme of a new report — “Early Childhood Agenda for Governors in 2019” — from the Center for American Progress.

“With 20 new governors and 16 re-elected governors starting new terms in January,” the report notes, “2019 has the potential to be a year of big change at the state level. This is particularly the case in the early childhood policy arena, as many newly elected governors discussed early childhood education as part of their campaigns.”  (more…)

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