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Archive for the ‘Professional development & preparation’ Category

Screenshot of New America’s report.

 

What does high-quality pre-K look like?

It depends on where you look, according to a new report from the think tank New America.

“Since publicly funded pre-K programs are guided by varying intents, regulations, and funding approaches, there is little continuity in early learning. There are uneven standards for program quality, variable hours of coverage, incongruent eligibility requirements, and competing demands for accountability.”

Despite this “uneven” practice, the research does provide clear answers of what quality looks like.

To get a sharp picture of quality, New America’s report — “Indispensable Policies & Practices for High-Quality Pre-K: Research & Pre-K Standards Review” — “synthesizes recent meta-analyses and other studies” and “analyzes existing pre-K quality standards.”

Six themes emerged from this process: (more…)

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Photo: Caroline Silber for Strategies for Children

 

A new report –“Quality for Whom?”– from the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) points to two converging trends:

1) the number of immigrant children in the United States is growing in many states as is the number of children whose parents do not speak English, and

2) States have been working hard to increase the quality of early programs using Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS)

That’s why, the report notes, QRIS efforts should embrace the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse families (CLDs) and of diverse early childhood staff.

“It is critical for stakeholders to address equity issues in early childhood for several reasons,” one of the report’s authors, Julie Sugarman, told us. “First, because children from an immigrant background make up a quarter of all children ages 0 to 5 and immigrants make up 18 percent of the early childhood workforce — a significant share of the field.  (more…)

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“If you want to increase the quality of early education and care, you need a consistent, highly skilled, well-paid workforce to deliver on that promise.”

Marie St. Fleur, former Massachusetts State Representative, in the video “Key to Quality Early Education and Care is Quality Workforce,” posted by Wheelock College, August 1, 2017

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

“How do we go about the task of simultaneously expanding and improving early education – creating more classrooms for more children – while also shaping and improving what is happening in those classrooms?”

That’s the question Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones ask in the article they’ve published in U.S. News and World Report: “Better Education Starts With Adults: Our treatment of educators and leaders is key to improving early childhood education.”

Lesaux and Jones are both professors at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and as our blog readers know, Lesaux wrote the Strategies for Children report, “Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success.”

Their approach to expanding and improving early education is, as the article’s title states, to start with adults. (more…)

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Tom Weber, Commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care

Last week, the Massachusetts Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators (MAECTE) held its Early Childhood Policy Summit.

The title of MAECTE’s summit: “Preparing the Early Childhood Workforce and Supporting Quality Programs: Structural Changes Needed in Funding and Higher Ed to Meet the Challenge.”

As MAECTE’s website says, the organization is “a professional voice of Early Childhood Educator preparation,” and it “provides vision, leadership, resources, policy initiatives, and professional development opportunities to support Early Childhood teacher educators.”

Summit participants included providers, advocates, and state officials including Tom Weber, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), and Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.

“When our teachers do not make a livable wage, we do not make ourselves appealing in a competitive market,” Weber said.  (more…)

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This is one of a series of blogs featuring first-person accounts from early educators across Massachusetts.

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My name is Tatiane Oliveira, and I’m an early childhood educator. I have worked as a nanny in the Boston area since 2003. I have been fortunate and blessed to be able to do what I love for all these years!

Although I knew I have always wanted to work with children, I confess I never imagined being a nanny. I, like many others, had no idea of what that meant, how it was a profession one could choose to pursue. That mindset changed as soon as I became one. I learned that nannies, are private educators hidden in plain sight. I loved the long-term connection and the ability to fully dedicate to one, two, or three children. Still, I thought I was crazy and the only one who actually loved nannying more than teaching. (more…)

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A guest post by Chris Martes, President and CEO of Strategies for Children

Jason Sachs and Chris Martes testifying at the State House

Tuesday was a sunny June day, so you may have missed the State House hearing on a range of early education and care bills.

Amy O’Leary and I — along with our colleagues from cities and towns and other organizations — testified in support of “An Act ensuring high quality early education,” H.2874 filed by Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley) and S.240 filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).

We shared our goals with the Joint Committee on Education, chaired by Representative Peisch and Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz (D-Jamaica Plain).

Budgetwise, it’s a tough time to ask for more funding. Massachusetts’ revenue forecast can best be described as partly sunny with a chance of car-denting hail. Look for “modest growth” of 3.9 percent.

Fortunately, our bill is an ideal fit for these economic times. (more…)

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