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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

Wheelock College has just posted a video from its 2016 Community Dialogue that highlights the importance of early education.

As we’ve blogged before, this event engages early educators, policymakers, and elected officials in a conversation about the strengths and challenges of the field.

Among those featured in the video is Carlos Santiago, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, who says:

“We have certainly come to realize the importance of the success of students in early education as they come to our doors in higher education.”

Be sure to check it out.

“That’s where professors Stephanie Jones and Nonie Lesaux at the Harvard Graduate School of Education come in.

“They’re launching a study, ‘The Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative’.

“They’re gathering information from 5,000 families in Massachusetts with three and four-year-old children and plan to follow them over the next five years – all of the information will be confidential.

“‘It’s a ground-breaking study that will influence conversations and policies around early education in the U.S. with the goal of doing better with all children and their families,’ said Lesaux.

“Nationwide, preschool is expensive and the quality can be uneven.

“‘The challenge, actually, is only two in 10 experiences are high quality so only two in 10 children have access to a high quality early education experience,’ said Jones.”

“Eye On Education: Harvard Study Aims To Strengthen Preschool Learning,” CBSBoston, June 28, 2017

Screenshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation website

KIDS COUNT, a project of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has released its annual Data Book. It’s a comprehensive look at children’s lives that’s meant to urge “policymakers not to back away from targeted investments that help U.S. children become healthier, more likely to complete high school and better positioned to contribute to the nation’s economy as adults.”

The Data Book has a mix of good and bad news: progress in some areas and lapses in others.

“The U.S. continues to have one of the highest child poverty rates among all developed countries,” Laura Speer, associate director of policy reform and advocacy for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said in a press release. “This unfairly burdens our young people and the nation, costing an estimated $500 billion a year in reduced economic opportunities and increased health and criminal justice-related costs.” Continue Reading »

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.  Continue Reading »

Foreground: Representative Claire Cronin (D-Plymouth) speaking to Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. 

We are very sad to hear that Mitchell Chester, commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, passed away on Monday. He was committed to improving education across the commonwealth.

“Commissioner Chester’s leadership improved the lives of thousands of students & helped make MA’s public school system a national leader,” Governor Baker said on Twitter.

Massachusetts Secretary of Education Jim Peyser said, “He was a thoughtful leader. He loved the job he did. He cared deeply about all the children in the state,” the Boston Globe reports.

We are thinking of Commissioner Chester and his family, and we are grateful for his leadership.

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. Continue Reading »

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