Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘COVID-19’ Category

steps

Photo: Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

 
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.” (more…)

Read Full Post »


 
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. (more…)

Read Full Post »

 
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. (more…)

Read Full Post »

6287613675_3c0b857476_c

Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 
The headline of a new Boston Globe article asks an important question: “Parents pay a small fortune for child care. So why are so many providers struggling?”

This is a problem that needs smart public policy solutions.

Even before the pandemic, early education and care programs struggled. As the Globe explains in its extensive article:

“It’s never easy to achieve financial stability in the early childhood field — particularly for caregivers who don’t own or run programs. Well before the pandemic, a national survey found that the families of nearly half of child-care workers received public assistance. Nationally, preschool teachers working in community-based programs earn only about half as much as similarly qualified teachers in public schools. In Massachusetts, the median preschool teacher salary across settings was just $38,563 in 2020, according to federal data.”

“The cause is simple: lack of government funding.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

 
Yesterday, a dozen early educators and leaders submitted testimony at a State House hearing of the Special Legislative Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission.

And there’s still time to email more testimony to the commission. To have the most impact submit your testimony by this Thursday.

The commission, as Senator Jason Lewis (D-Winchester), a commission co-chair, explains on his website, “is tasked with investigating accessibility, affordability, and other concerns surrounding early education and childcare in the Commonwealth, and making recommendations to the state legislature for policy and funding solutions.”

Lewis adds:

“With a growing consensus among the public, the business community and policymakers that high-quality, affordable, accessible early education and childcare are indispensable, this commission has a unique opportunity to lay out a roadmap for bold, transformative policy action.”

Lewis is co-chairing the commission with Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley).

Among those who submitted testimony to the committee is Jessica Seney, vice president of the board at Charlestown Nursery School in Boston, who said in part: (more…)

Read Full Post »

Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 8.35.59 PM

Mayor Kendrys Vasquez. Screenshot: The Instagram page of the Office of the Mayor of City of Lawrence, Massachusetts

 

Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, former Lawrence, Mass., Mayor Dan Rivera decided to create a $400,000 scholarship program for child care.

The program provided vouchers to low-income families. Some parents were essential workers. And most parents were earning salaries that were essential to their families’ survival.

Lawrence’s City Council approved the investment. But the funding was set to expire on December 31, 2020.

Fast forward to today, and the good news is that Lawrence is still investing in these child care scholarships.

Lawrence’s current mayor, Kendrys Vasquez, announced a two-year reinvestment and an expansion of the program, setting a leadership example that other cities can follow.

Mayor Vasquez knows the need for child care is real. One day when he was having lunch with his chief of staff and economic development director a constituent came up to his table to talk.

“She said, I had to quit my job because I cannot afford childcare, and now all I’m doing is Uber to be able to maintain my family and keep up with our expenses,” Vasquez recalled during a recent Strategies for Children 9:30 Call. The woman was relying on her mother to provide a few hours of child care. (more…)

Read Full Post »

SFC radio

Photo: RODNAE Productions from Pexels

This month, WHMP, a Northampton, Mass., radio station featured a discussion on early education on its podcast, “The Afternoon Buzz,” hosted by Ashfield attorney Stewart “Buz” Eisenberg.

This podcast episode welcomed three guests:

• Donna M. Denette, executive director of Children First Enterprises

• Keira Durrett, director of the Williston Northampton Children’s Center, and

• Clare Higgins, executive director of Community Action Pioneer Valley

All three are also regulars on Strategies for Children’s 9:30 calls, where we share the latest news on early education advocacy. Be sure to check out our 9:30 call webpage and sign up to join the call.

On the podcast, Donna Denette talked about the importance of child care as infrastructure, noting, “When we hear that we have to invest in roads and bridges, because people can’t get to work without roads and bridges — Covid made it very clear that people can’t get to work without childcare either.” (more…)

Read Full Post »

pexels-mentatdgt-1569076

Photo: mentatdgt from Pexels

The pandemic has taken a terrible toll on child care providers.

Fortunately, help is available. Providers can – and should – apply for federally funded Child Care Stabilization grants. All programs that are licensed by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) are eligible.

Most important of all: Every program that applies and was open on March, 11, 2020, and is open now will receive funding.

The federal government has invested nearly $122 billion in Covid relief funds for K-12 schools.

Early education and care has received historic levels of relief funding as well, and providers should use these funds to stabilize and rebuild.

Most EEC-licensed programs have applied for the grant, but a small percentage still have not.

So here at Strategies for Children, we’re encouraging everyone to apply!

Strategies has been working with EEC to provide technical assistance in applying, and we’ve posted some helpful resources here.

To encourage everyone else to apply for the grant, we’ve shared the perspectives of providers who have already applied in two YouTube videos. (more…)

Read Full Post »

U.S. Capitol
 
Now is the time to talk to Congress about the importance of child care.

As the country pushes through the pandemic and rebuilds, child care is sitting in the policy spotlight as a crucial resource that parents need to go back to work.

In addition, Wednesdays are #SolveChildCare Days for advocates, according to the First Five Years Fund, and there are easy quick ways to reach out to Congress that are listed below.

So far, child care has notable support.

As his Build Back Better agenda explains, President Joe Biden would ensure that:

• “no middle-class family pays more than 7 percent of their income for high-quality child care up to age 5”

• “working families most in need won’t pay anything—saving the average family $14,800 per year”

• universal preschool becomes a reality by “partnering with states to offer every parent access to high-quality preschool for 3- and 4- year-olds in the setting of their choice,” and

•the country would have “12 weeks of paid family and medical leave, to help improve the health of new mothers and reduce wage loss” (more…)

Read Full Post »

“Laura Pacific would love to find a job — if she could afford child care for her 10-year-old son. 

“The 35-year-old single mom faces a common predicament for many U.S. parents, and especially women, as they juggle soaring chlld-care costs and the need to earn a living in a precarious labor market. The going rate for her day care needs where she lives in Phoenix, Arizona, is between $600 and $800 a month — more than Pacific’s monthly rent.

“ ‘Day care is absolutely essential and if you don’t have it, it stops a lot of the opportunities you would have outside of the home,’ Pacific told CBS MoneyWatch. ‘They say there are a lot of jobs right now, but because of the child-care situation I am not able to take advantage of any of them.’ ”

“With child care unaffordable, many parents struggle to stay employed,” by Megan Cerullo, CBS News, September 30, 2021

 

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: