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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Enjoy the holiday!

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There’s some good news for early education in Washington, D.C.

The Build Back Better bill has been passed by the House, bringing it one step closer to becoming law.

Next, the bill will have to make it through the Senate.

As Representative Katherine Clark (D-Massachusetts) explains, this legislation is vitally important.

“The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation investment in families. It will help us recover today and rebuild a stronger tomorrow. With this bill, we are fundamentally improving the lives of workers, women, children, and seniors and ensuring that the wealthiest Americans and corporations pay their fair share,” Clark says in a statement.

“When I first ran for Congress, I had a dream that every child in America could have access to a great start through universal pre-kindergarten. With today’s bill, what was once a moonshot will soon be reality. What’s more, we are lowering the cost of child care for 20 million families and finally honoring our child care workers with livable wages.” Continue Reading »

“A growing body of research points to the enormous benefits to children and program quality when early educators from all levels of the field have access to relational and entrepreneurial leadership training. Relational leadership recognizes the expertise or authority of each person to exercise leadership to influence change, regardless of formal titles or roles. Entrepreneurial leadership focuses on designing and leading efforts to solve seemingly intractable problems for which there are no existing or predefined solutions.

“Early educators who receive such training experience transformative shifts in their mindsets. They redefine leadership from something that is hierarchical to leadership that is highly collaborative, relational, and purpose-driven. They connect their new understanding of leadership with their past and present actions and capabilities. They see themselves as leaders, often for the first time.

“What do early educators do with their new leadership skills? They pursue entrepreneurial ventures that increase the supply of quality child care in their communities. They provide expert testimony to lawmakers and share their expertise with media to educate the public about the importance of investing in the field. They experiment with innovations that improve the quality of their programs.”

“Early investment in child care workforce may pay big dividends,” by Anne Douglass, CommonWealth Magazine, November 15, 2021

State House

Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

Get ready for next week’s virtual State House hearing, where the Joint Committee on Education will hear testimony on “bills related to Early Education and Care, Kindergarten, and Literacy.”

To watch the hearing, tune in on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at 11 am.

Want to testify? The deadline for signing up is the day before, Monday, November 22, at noon.

You can also email written testimony to Alice.Peisch@mahouse.gov and Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov. Please include “Education Committee Testimony, [Relevant Bill Number]” in the email’s subject line.

Need to learn more about the bills? Keep reading.

Strategies for Children will provide testimony in support of two bills. One is the Common Start legislation, a bill (H.605S.362) that “would establish a system of affordable, high-quality early education and child care for all Massachusetts families, over a 5-year timeline,” according to a fact sheet. Continue Reading »


 
Early education and care providers are in the middle of several crises. There’s the pandemic. There’s the shrinking workforce. And there’s the pandemic-related mental health crisis that’s playing out in children’s lives.

To stabilize and strengthen the field, the Department of Early Education (EEC) is building a new professional infrastructure. These initiatives are part of the strategic action plan, EEC’s guiding vision for 2020-2025.

Earlier this month, EEC’s Advisory Council and its Workforce Council held a joint meeting to discuss a range of workforce issues and solutions.

“We wanted to get some insights on some of the very specific initiatives that are both being conceptualized at the moment as well as [those that] are ready to start launching,” EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy said in her introduction. The goal is to build “the systems that we need to fuel our growth and recovery.”

The topics on the meeting’s agenda were:

• Status of EEC Workforce

• Launch of a Professional Registry

• Educator Credentialing, and

• EEC Professional Pathways

Here’s a summary of what was discussed. Continue Reading »

“In Connecticut, there is a new call for universal child care. A coalition, that includes providers and parents, has launched a campaign called Child Care For Connecticut’s Future.

“They want long-term change, not what they believe is a band-aid fix or limited solutions. The group is already bringing ideas to lawmakers.

“The coalition released a video Friday to kick off the campaign. Organizers say early childhood education is underfunded. They say they want two concrete changes: fair compensation for educators and more affordable child care.

“ ‘If you look at an annual costs, it costs more to pay for early education for your little one than it does to put your child that’s going through a state university through University, which is kind of mind-boggling.’ Eva Bermuda Zimmerman, CSEA SEIU Local 2001 child care and organizing director, said.”

“Parents, Providers Join Campaign For Universal Child Care,” by Jane Caffrey, NBC Connecticut, November 10, 2021

welcoming

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About 20 years ago, Wheelock College brought in trainers to teach a noncredit course for early educators called “Making Room in the Circle,” which covered how to welcome LGBTQ families into early childhood settings.

Some 50 early educators enrolled – and so did Wheelock professor Ellie Friedland along with other Boston area faculty. 

EllieFriedland

Ellie Friedland

“The idea was that Wheelock professors who took the course would then go on to teach a for-credit course for students,” Friedland says. 

“One of the stories I like to tell is that when I proposed the course to the faculty at Wheelock College, there were no questions. Everyone immediately said, of course.”

Friedland doesn’t teach the class on her own. 

“I’m straight and cisgender, so that’s something I use in various ways in my workshops. But I never teach the class alone; it has to be co-taught by someone who identifies as something other than straight.” 

“What we found was that there were always students who took the course because they were already immersed and active. And there were students who took the course because they didn’t know anything and felt the responsibility to learn. And there were students who took it because they were questioning their own identities. And for all students it was vital to have a professor they could identify with and feel comfortable with.” 

Today, Friedland is still a professor at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development, and she is still sharing the importance of welcoming LGBTQ+ families, teaching classes, running workshops, and talking to Strategies for Children’s 9:30 callers. 

We asked Friedland what barriers early educators face in welcoming families. 

Her answer: “Fear.”  Continue Reading »

webinar

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The new federal investment in early education and care promises to have a broad impact.

To explore the details, the Alliance for Early Success has shared a new webinar explaining what to expect.

The webinar’s Spanish interpretation is posted here.

“We are very, very excited about this,” Danielle Ewen says in the webinar about the new federal funding. Ewen is a principal at EducationCounsel, an Alliance member and an education consulting firm. “This is a major, major opportunity to change the trajectory of life for children and families and providers.

“When you look at the Build Back Better proposal, the early childhood provisions are the second largest piece. We have never been the second largest piece of a major piece of legislation, ever.”

Build Back Better is still making its way through the legislative process, so it may change somewhat. But here are some key components as they stand now.

Part of the bill addresses income and health care, including: Continue Reading »

“Workforce Solutions Alamo is providing a $55 million grant to expand a program easing the financial burden on San Antonio families.”

“ ‘(We are) really helping workers that are in restaurant, entertainment, hotel and those types of industries to have child care,’ said Jessica Dovalina, assistant human services director. ‘A lot of families don’t know this resource is out there.’ ”

“The city’s child care subsidy program could provide 12 months’ worth of free child care to those who qualify. Parents are able to pick any eligible provider throughout San Antonio, which can offer flexible options for those trying to make ends meet.

“ ‘Service-industry jobs can have hours that are not your traditional work hours, and so this really provides an opportunity for them to get support in that area,’ Dovalina said.

“City Council on Thursday approved the Workforce Solutions Alamo grant to bolster the program, which aims to help more than 5,000 families and children in San Antonio and the surrounding area.”

“New grant alleviates child-care burden for San Antonio’s service industry,” by Troy Kless, KENS 5, November 4, 2021

 
Last week, President Biden unveiled a final framework for the Build Back Better Act that includes $400 billion dollars invested in child care and preschool.

Please sign onto this letter to support the Build Back Better child care and early learning investments by Monday, November 1 at NOON.

This legislation will:

• Provide universal and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, the largest expansion of universal and free education since states and communities across the country established public high school 100 years ago. This investment will enable states to expand access to free preschool for more than 6 million children per year and increase the quality of preschool for many more children who are already enrolled. Importantly, parents will be able to send children to high-quality preschool in the setting of their choice – from public schools to child care providers to Head Start.

• Make the largest investment in child care in the nation’s history, saving most working American families more than half of their spending on child care. For eligible families who want to participate this means access to affordable, high-quality child care in a setting that best meets their needs. The framework will help states expand access to about 20 million children per year – covering 9 out of 10 families across the country with young children. For far too long, the child care system has been subsidized by the passion of the workforce. This legislation and funding will pave the way for substantial investments in educator compensation and see that providers are reimbursed for the true cost of providing high-quality care. Continue Reading »

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