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When early education and higher education team up, great things can happen.

One example is the Career Pathways Grant program, funding that the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) awards to all of Massachusetts’ community colleges to create more educational and professional development opportunities for early educators.

For instance, at Quinsigamond Community College, “10 students are taking part in a pre-college course focusing on student-based skills and introducing them to early childhood education topics and terminology. After they complete the course in the fall these students will transition over to college level early childhood education courses, where they will receive financial and other support services designed to help them succeed.”

At Mount Wachusett Community College, the grant is being used to “to provide free classes for Early Childhood Education professionals and training to help local childcare facilities.” Continue Reading »

 

Mark your calendar. The annual conference of the Massachusetts Head State Association is later this month.

The details for this year’s conference – “A Vision for Early Education: Advocacy, Leadership, and Reflection” – are:

Tuesday, October 22, 2019
9 am – 4 pm
Devens Common Center
31 Andrews Parkway
Devens, Massachusetts

“The conference focuses on tangible tools that the early education workforce can use to help move our field forward,” Michelle Haimowitz the executive director of the association says.

“The conference will offer high-quality workshops on effective advocacy skills, leadership through change for individuals at any level of management or direct service, and reflective practice.

“Anyone can register at www.massheadstart.org/upcoming-events.” Continue Reading »

“In June, the city of Memphis, Tennessee, lost funding for 1,000 pre-K slots due to an expiring federal grant.”

“Instead of passively accepting the void in federal leadership, cities such as Memphis are finding innovative ways to bring together the public, private and nonprofit sectors to finance and expand needed services for children, and increasing pressure on local officials to reinvest in child services.”

“Pittsburgh provides a good example of a community that successfully implemented an innovative method to fund youth programming. In 2008, the One Hill Coalition, a diverse group of 100 community groups in the city, brokered a collective-bargaining agreement with the developers of the new Pittsburgh Penguins arena. The agreement created a youth center and invested $8.3 million in neighborhood improvements, much of which went toward youth development programs.

“Similarly, the mayor of Memphis, Tennessee, set an example by advocating for children and dedicating tax revenue from business tax breaks set to expire. These funds are going directly to pre-K programming, helping to cover the loss of funding for 1,000 seats due to declining federal investment. In total, the revenues will bring the city an estimated $6 million annually by 2022.”

“Opinion: Cities find new ways to fill pre-K funding holes left by the federal government,” by Jennifer Davis and Elizabeth Gaines, The Hechinger Report, September 24, 2019

Photo credits: Kate Samp and Micaela Bedell for Strategies for Children

 

Although they frequently get lots of “likes” on Facebook, infants and toddlers still don’t get the public policy attention that they deserve.

Thanks, however, to a new initiative — the Massachusetts Partnership for Infants and Toddlers (MPIT) – very young children should get more policy respect.

The story of MPIT began earlier this year when Strategies for Children and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley, along with a group of nonprofit partners, state agency representatives, and philanthropic funders, applied for a planning grant from the Pritzker Children’s Initiative.

Pritzker planned to award planning grants of $100,000 and actions grants of $1 to $3 million to states that submitted “winning proposals focused on expanding needed state and community services for children prenatal to age three and their families.”

Our goal was to use the Pritzker funding to create a statewide effort that would “result in a new (first-of-its-kind) state plan for infants and toddlers” as well as a new coalition focused on infants and toddlers. Continue Reading »

 

There’s an exciting, new education bill in the State House: the Student Opportunity Act.

It calls for “an unprecedented $1.5 billion new investment in Massachusetts public education,” a fact sheet says.

The bill also notes that K-12 education can benefit from strong preschool programs.

“The proposal — jointly announced by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, and other legislative leaders — aims to bridge the divide in educational opportunities between poor and affluent systems by directing more money to districts that serve greater concentrations of students living in poverty or those with language barriers,” the Boston Globe reports.

 

Continue Reading »

 

On Tuesday, September 10, 2019, Geoffrey Canada, president of the Harlem Children’s Zone, was the Stone Social Impact Forum speaker at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate.

In the audience were Amy O’Leary, the director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign, and Titus DosRemedios, Strategies’ director of research and policy.

Amy asked Canada about investing in early education. Here’s an edited version of their exchange.

Amy: “What is it going to take for us to change our priorities and invest more earlier to get the bigger outcome later?”

Canada: “The science on this is really clear, [but] we’ve got science that is not driving policy, and I think this is going to be another one of these movements. It’s one of the reasons that we are trying to advocate for comprehensive, cradle to career [approaches], which does not mean pre-K to career. It means cradle to career.

“The science on this stuff is really clear, what happens to those young brains when kids are six months, one year. And if you’re in communities where people don’t know how to stimulate those brains appropriately, that’s going to put that kid at a disadvantage. So the question is: What is it going to take? It’s going to take us not giving up. Continue Reading »

 

“It is with great excitement and deep gratitude that we share NAEYC’s newest position statement, Advancing Equity in Early Childhood Education,” Amy O’Leary and Rhian Evans Allvin write in a blog post from the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

O’Leary is NAEYC’s board president as well as director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All Campaign. Evans Allvin is NAEYC’s executive director.

 

Amy O’Leary and Rhian Evans Allvin

 

The new statement is a rallying call and a roadmap of recommendations that “breaks new ground for the field and for NAEYC.”

The statement is one of NAEYC’s five foundational position statements, and it is endorsed by more than 100 leading organizations.

This statement’s core – “All children have the right to equitable learning opportunities that enable them to achieve their full potential as engaged learners and valued members of society” – pours a foundation for achieving a two-part goal to: Continue Reading »

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