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“It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of herself and some her colleagues who gathered at the State House on Tuesday for “Looking Back to Look Forward,” a Strategies for Children celebration of the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008.

Speaker Pro Tempore Pat Haddad

Sponsored by Haddad and Senator Robert Antonioni (D-Leominster) and signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick, the new legislation was a bright step forward. It officially established Massachusetts’ Universal Pre-K (UPK) program, and outlined the responsibilities of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and for its board and commissioner.

“We had to block out some of the people who were naysayers,” Haddad said at the Looking Back event. But now, she explained, more and more legislators understand that building a universal pre-K program is “the right thing to do.”

The Legislature has never been able to fully fund UPK, but it has made progress, investing in scholarships for early educators and leveraging the power of federal preschool grant funds. (more…)

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Presidential Seminar panelists. Front row: Zaina Cahill and Rachel Giannini. Back row: Llanet Montoya, Mary Graham, and Amy O’Leary.

 

Earlier this month at the NAEYC Annual Conference in Washington, D.C., the Presidential Seminar featured a panel discussion about advocacy with both seasoned advocates and newer advocates who are just finding their advocacy voices.

“To achieve universally accessible, high-early early education and care in our country, we need to build a broad-based movement that is organized, guided and supported by a diverse leadership that has as its core the voices of those who directly work with children and families,” the panel’s description explains, adding that to make a difference for children, families, and the field, early educators should understand that, “We are the ones we have been waiting for – we need to be the change we want to see in the world!”

The panel was planned and moderated by Amy O’Leary, NAEYC’s president and the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All campaign.

The panel discussion was also featured in the Education Dive article, “Panelists stress need for educators to play dual role as pre-K policy advocates.” (more…)

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Please join Strategies for Children at the State House at10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, December 11, 2018, for Looking Back to Look Forward — a celebration of the tenth anniversary of the law that formally established Massachusetts’ Universal Pre-Kindergarten program. 

The bill — An Act Relative to Early Education and Care (Chapter 215 of the Acts of 2008) — was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick. This landmark legislation was sponsored by Education Committee Co-Chairs Senator Robert Antonioni and Representative Patricia Haddad, and it passed unanimously in both the House and Senate.

This legal victory built on progress that was made in 2005, when Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to launch an independent, consolidated department with a primary focus on early childhood learning and care, the Department of Early Education and Care. This achievement was the culmination of years of work by advocates and policymakers. A report and executive summary from the Rennie Center cover this history. (more…)

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Free tonight?

Come to the Wheelock Family Theater and join us for a screening of “No Small Matter,” a film about the power of high-quality early education.

The film features “stories of real children, families, and teachers, illustrating the impact of high-quality early childhood experiences.”

“No Small Matter” is also “firmly grounded in science… opening up the ‘black box’ of what’s happening inside children’s brains with exciting, stimulating animation and the voices of compelling scientists, physicians, and ECE experts,” the press kit explains.

The film is “designed to kick-start the public conversation about early care and education.”

To promote this conversation, tonight’s screening will include a reception and a panel discussion. Here’s the full agenda: (more…)

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Members of the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership. Source: Education Trust’s Twitter page.

 

Massachusetts is a great place to get a K-12 education — but not for everyone.

Many students in this state do extremely well on a national standardized test called the National Assessment of Educational Progress or NAEP. A May 2018 report from the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) says:

• “Massachusetts tied for first place on the grades 4 and 8 NAEP reading assessments,” and

• “On the NAEP mathematics assessments, Massachusetts tied for first with five other states at grade 4 and one other state on grade 8.”

But not every student does this well. Massachusetts is also home to “glaring and persistent disparities in opportunity and achievement that separate low-income students and students of color from their peers.”

That’s the finding of a new report called, “#1 for Some: Opportunity and Achievement in Massachusetts,” that has been released by the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership, a growing coalition of nonprofit organizations. Strategies for Children is one of 15 current members. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

The blog is on vacation!

We’ll be back in September.

Enjoy the final days of summer!

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Once again this year, the city of New Bedford welcomed children and parents to a back-to-school, kick-off event at the city’s Buttonwood Park Zoo.

The third annual — “Smooth Sailing into Kindergarten” — was a chance to see animals, explore the zoo, and meet principals, teachers, and community partners. This mix of fun and school-readiness activities creates an upbeat start to the academic year.

(more…)

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