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Archive for the ‘QRIS’ 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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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) wants your feedback.

EEC is revising the Massachusetts Quality Rating and Improvement System (MA QRIS). And the department wants to know what you think of its draft document.

Massachusetts’ QRIS system looks at quality in five areas:

  1. Curriculum and Learning
  2. Safe, Healthy Indoor and Outdoor Environments
  3. Workforce Development and Professional Qualifications
  4. Family and Community Engagement
  5. Leadership, Administration and Management

QRIS work is also going on nationally, as Debi Mathias, director of the QRIS National Learning Network with the BUILD Initiative, noted in a panel discussion last year. And these efforts are having a positive impact on children. (more…)

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Our own Titus DosRemedios, Strategies for Children’s director of research and policy, was interviewed by the Toronto-based Preschool Podcast. Here are some excerpts of what Titus said:

 

“We have started to look at data on our early education and care workforce, and it’s kind of shocking how low the salaries are, how high the turnover is — the average salary is about $25,000 in the field for an early education and care teacher, turnover rate is about 30 percent. So we’re paying these borderline poverty wages for teachers that we’re expecting will be able to close the achievement gap and help children get ready to succeed in school. So there’s a mismatch between what our vision and hope is for the system and the level of investment there is in the teachers…”

 

“Access we thought was pretty good. And we actually spent many years pushing on quality because we thought that was the missing piece… But in recent years, we’ve started to uncover that in many parts of the state access is actually not that great. We have what we call Gateway Cities in Massachusetts… And what you find is that many children, high percentages of children in these small urban cities are coming to kindergarten without having any form or preschool whatsoever…”

 

“The secret to third-grade reading scores is not to get a new curriculum in third grade. It’s to work from birth all the way through age 8 or 9 and think about that entire continuum: working with families, infant-toddler programs, preschool programs, home-visiting programs, and, of course, the early elementary grades…”

 

“Data-driven early childhood education advocacy,” The Preschool Podcast, June 27, 2017

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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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“As Boston officials seek to create a universal pre-kindergarten system, they must take into account a host of considerations, and one of the key questions is defining the very recipe for high quality.

“Are schools with hundreds of students up to eighth grade appropriate for 4-year-olds? How will the nurturing environment of small child care centers be reproduced in classrooms with nearly two dozen students? What will be the financial impact on private providers if a big source of revenue is taken? Will going to a private preschool keep families from getting into their favorite public kindergarten class?”

“City officials say the goal is to create a public/private system that would guarantee a free, full day of learning, allow community organizations to maintain their individuality, and have an agreed-upon set of standards for what constitutes a high-quality pre-K education.”

“Early education experts say other ingredients to consider include class and facility size, location, the relationship between teachers and administrators, and culture and language.”

“Boston pre-K programs that make the grade,” by Akilah Johnson, The Boston Globe, March 10, 2017

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Why does the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs care if a child eats an apple?

Because the alliance is trying to change the world. Instead of couches and chips, the alliance is working to expose children to more fresh food and physical activity.

One goal is to protect kids from obesity and developing obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.

But this effort may well do a lot more. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention points out, healthier students are better learners. Better learners are more likely to graduate from high school. And “Better-educated individuals live longer, healthier lives than those with less education, and their children are more likely to thrive,” according to a policy brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

In other words, kids who habitually eat apples and ride bikes could be laying a foundation for decades of success – for themselves and their descendants.

What’s the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCA’s doing with this information?

Bringing it to the preschool arena. (more…)

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