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Posts Tagged ‘#ece’

Mayor Martin Walsh greets kids on the playground after the Universal Pre-K announcement at ABCD Head Start Walnut Grove. (Mayor’s Office Photo by John Wilcox)

 

Yesterday, at the ABCD Head Start Walnut Grove program in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood, Mayor Marty Walsh announced that the City of Boston is investing $15 million to expand access to free, high-quality pre-K.

“ ‘This is a game-changer for the young people of our city,’ Walsh said Tuesday, surrounded by school administrators and representatives from community groups set to partner with the city to fully implement pre-K programming,” the Boston Globe reports.

The funding will support the “Quality Pre-K Fund,” which will guarantee equitable access “for all 4-year-olds living in Boston within five years,” a press release explains.

The Quality Pre-K Fund will “support the creation of 750 high-quality seats in the nationally recognized pre-K programs in Boston Public Schools (BPS) and in community-based organizations, such as ABCD Head Start, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, and many others,” the press release says, adding, “When Mayor Walsh took office, the gap of high-quality pre-K classroom seats stood at 1,500, and over the last six years this number has been cut in half.” (more…)

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JD Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, was interviewed at the Ready Nation 2018 Global Business Summit on Early Childhood, which was held late last year in New York City.

 

 

Interviewer: “Why use and focus on early learning as a key driver to close the achievement gap?”

JD Chesloff: “One of the members of the roundtable used a really great analogy. He said if you’re Michelin Tires and you have a hole in your supply chain of rubber, you immediately go to the beginning of that supply chain and fix it. And when we talk to a lot of employers, they’ll tell you that there’s a hole in the supply chain of workers. And if you’re going to use a strategy to go fix that supply chain, it makes a ton of sense to start at the beginning, and early childhood is that strategy.”

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

If we build it, they will come.

That was the attitude in Springfield, Mass., when the city received a federal preschool expansion grant to fund 196 new slots.

Only it turned out that finding children to fill those slots was much harder than expected.

An article in the Atlantic – “Where Are All the Preschoolers?” — tells the story of how tough it can be to find children because there isn’t enough solid data.

“Sally Fuller, the project director of Reading Success by 4th Grade at the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation… estimates half of Springfield’s preschool-aged children are not enrolled in programs, and she admits that number could be off by as much as 10 percentage points—which speaks to a major barrier in preschool-expansion efforts. Communities largely don’t have a handle on the exact size of the population they’re trying to serve,” the article says.

Also featured is our own Amy O’Leary, director of our Early Education for All Campaign.  (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

Early childhood education (ECE) has strong public and legislative support. The challenge is paying for it.

In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh has called for using tourism dollars to finance an expansion of preschool. Philadelphia is using a beverage tax.

Now a new brief – “Innovative Financing for Early Childhood Education” — highlights a number of different funding approaches.

Finding up-front financing is crucial, because investments in early education end up paying off. As we’ve blogged, the return on investment can be as high as $13 for every $1 spent.

“Our group proposes specific action to expand upon what is ‘right’ with existing tax policy and to create new incentives that promote state, local and private collaboration,” the brief says. It was released by the Early Childhood Education Action Tank, a coalition that includes Save the Children Action Network and the First Five Years Fund as well as financial and business institutions. (more…)

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Foreground: Representative Claire Cronin (D-Plymouth) speaking to Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Background: TeeAra Dias, Preschool Expansion Grant Project Manager, Boston Public Schools.

Foreground: Representative Claire Cronin (D-Plymouth) speaking to Commissioner Mitchell Chester, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Background: TeeAra Dias, Preschool Expansion Grant Project Manager, Boston Public Schools.

 

“We now know there are more kids in more programs, but clearly not enough, clearly not enough,” Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children, told the 100 participants at a meeting that was held last month in downtown Boston for the community teams from across Massachusetts that are focused on expanding preschool opportunities for children and families.

We’re including audio clips and photos from the event in this blog post.

 

Strategies for Children’s Amy O’Leary presents a brief history of state policy for early education and care.

 

Each team had received either federal Preschool Expansion Grant funds to add high-quality preschool seats (5 communities); state-funded preschool planning grants (13 communities); or both. Combined, these communities are Athol, Boston, Brockton, Cape Cod, Fall River, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, North Adams, Pittsfield, Springfield, Somerville, and Worcester. (more…)

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Photo: Alastair Pike, Office of Governor Charlie Baker. Source: Governor Baker's Flickr page.

Photo: Alastair Pike, Office of Governor Charlie Baker. Source: Governor Baker’s Flickr page.

Yesterday, Governor Baker released his state budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. The $40.5 billion budget represents a 4.3 percent increase over current year spending.

Early education and care was level funded in the budget. The Department of Early Education and Care and its programs were funded at $552.62 million. This includes a $7 million rate increase for the early education and care workforce, and increases for early education access accounts. Reach Out and Read, which recently lost its $1 million in state funding during mid-year budget cuts, was not funded in the governor’s budget.

WBUR covers the budget here.

A Lowell Sun article is posted here.

Please join us for a conference call at 3 p.m. today, Thursday, January 26, to review Governor Baker’s FY18 budget recommendations. 

Email aoleary@strategiesforchildren.org to get the call-in information. 

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We’re happy to welcome two new Board members to Strategies for Children: Jill Dixon and Valerie Gumes.

Jill and Valerie will help us carry out our mission to “ensure that Massachusetts invests the resources needed for all children, from birth to age five, to access high-quality early education programs that prepare them for success in school and life.”

jill-dixon-taly-bio-photoAs we’ve blogged, Jill is president and co-founder of the Taly Foundation, which provides grants to expand children’s access to early education programs and improve program quality. A parent with more than 20 years of sales experience, Jill was inspired to start Taly after her own children enrolled in preschool programs, and she discovered how many children were turned away because their parents could afford the cost. Back then, she wrote a personal check to pay for five children to attend preschool. Today, she does this funding work through Taly.

vgValerie is a retired educator who has had extensive experience in public education as a teacher, a principal, and an administrator. She was the founding principal of two of Boston’s Early Education Centers: the Blue Hill Avenue Early Education Center and the Haynes Early Education Center. She is a board member of the Dudley Street Neighborhood School Charter School, and she was a member of Boston’s School Readiness Action Planning Team. Valerie has remained active in the early education and care community, serving as a mentor to public school principals and teachers who are creating high-quality early childhood programs that meet the standards for national accreditation.

We’re excited to move forward with Jill and Valerie’s support. They will help us work toward our goal of increasing the number of children in Massachusetts who are enrolled in high-quality early learning programs and who enter kindergarten ready to learn.

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