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Archive for the ‘Early educators’ Category

 

As early education and care providers struggle through the coronavirus crisis, they have a business-world ally: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of Foundation.

The foundation’s stance is simple and clear: high-quality child care is good for children, families, and business.

And now in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, with “over 30 states implementing stay-at-home orders… the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is committed to helping the childcare industry weather this storm.”

To provide “more information for childcare businesses struggling to stay afloat, the Chamber Foundation hosted a webinar” that covers the virus’ impact on the child care industry, the federal response, and how providers can access loans and other resources for small businesses.

Neil Bradley, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s chief policy officer, discussed the many features of the new federal CARES Act. And Bridget Weston, the acting CEO of the SCORE Association, explained that her organization provides volunteer business mentors who can help small businesses navigate during the immediate crisis and over time. SCORE, a partner of the federal Small Business Association, also offers online education and weekly webinars. (more…)

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Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

On Wednesday,Samantha Aigner-Treworgy, commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care, spoke at a virtual town hall meeting. Here are some excerpts of what she said. A recording of the meeting is posted here.

 

For the duration of the closure, we know that you are working to try to support your staff, your families, and yourselves, and sustain that work. And we are doing as much as we can to help with whatever is in our power to make sure that you have the resources you need to be able to endure this difficult and challenging time.”

“I want to assure you that all of the federal funding that is available to small businesses is available to for-profit, nonprofit, and family child care providers.”

“We also know that in addition to being a valuable educational resource for families and children, child care in this moment is also a critical resource for the economy, even the baseline economy that we have running right now.”

“We are building on the wonderful relationship that DESE [the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education] has with WGBH to try to think about what kind of resources might be available to families.”

“The commitment I can make to you now is when the governor decides to reopen schools and child care, we will be thoughtful and supportive.”

 

Register here for another virtual town hall meeting with the commissioner that will be held on Thursday, April 16, 2020, at 3 p.m.

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

As we cope with the coronavirus pandemic, we have heard your requests for more information about financial assistance.

So if you are a child care provider in Massachusetts, please fill out this short Strategies for Children financial assistance survey so that we can direct you to appropriate support services.

The survey asks for basic information about your child care business, and it asks what kind of state, federal, and philanthropic opportunities you would like to learn more about.

So far, we’ve learned a lot from previous responses to this survey, including: (more…)

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“The need for daycare during the coronavirus emergency is hard to overstate.

Almost 80% of American healthcare workers are female: A significant majority of nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians assistants, and doctors under 35 are women. Close to 30% of healthcare workers in California have children under 14. Most are the primary caregiver in their families. If even a fraction were forced to stay home, it could exacerbate the extreme staffing shortages many hospitals now predict.”

“Childcare providers need supplies, coronavirus guidance as daycare system suffers,” by Sonja Sharp, The Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2020

 

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“The Council for Professional Recognition, the international nonprofit organization that oversees the Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential™, is calling for responsible closures of early childhood centers along with appropriate funding for early childhood educators severely disrupted by the global coronavirus.

“ ‘We advocate for financial assistance for early childhood educators and childcare workers who are losing their income due to program closures. We also appreciate all who continue to serve in support of parents who are emergency responders and essential personnel. K–12 teachers are rightfully still receiving their paychecks during school closures and we call on governments and employers to do all they can to support early childhood education in a similar way. This should apply to all early educators, whether they are in center based, family childcare or home visiting settings,’ says Valora Washington, Ph.D., CEO of the Council.”

“Call for Equitable Treatment of Early Childhood Education,” opinion piece in the Washington, D.C., Patch, March 20, 2020

 

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“I want to thank all our hard-working, dedicated, early childhood education professionals — and especially my employees. My entire team has been positive and willing to help out our first-responders and other vital workers during the pandemic.

“They have been flexible, understanding, creative, and full of grace in a time of scared parents, uncertain futures, and shifting legislative rules and responsibilities. They are taking care of the babies and young children of people who are vital to us getting through this mess, and are having to do it knowing they may be exposed by the next inevitable sniffle or cough.

“Early childhood professionals all deserve so much credit and recognition.”

— Sarah Hall, Kenosha, Wisc., Letter to the Editor of the Kenosha Times, March 25, 2020

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

As the country struggles to cope with the coronavirus, a group of Massachusetts elected officials and their spouses have written a powerful Boston Globe op-ed that calls on Congress to support the child care industry with a bailout.

“COVID-19 has (rightfully) forced the closure of child care centers across Massachusetts. In doing so, it has forced a profound reckoning about the state of the American child care system,” the op-ed says.

The closures, as we’ve blogged, have sown fears and doubts and hard questions that do not yet have answers. And on Wednesday, Governor Baker extended school and non-emergency child care closures to May 4, 2020.

However, the op-ed says:

“One thing is clear: We can no longer afford to approach child care as an economic accessory. We must approach it as the oxygen on which every facet of our recovery will depend.”

The op-ed’s authors are Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and her husband Bruce Mann, a Harvard Law School professor; Representative Joe Kennedy III and his wife Lauren Birchfield Kennedy, the co-founder of Neighborhood Villages; Representative Katherine Clark; and Representative Ayanna Pressley and her husband Conan Harris, the principal of Conan Harris & Associates LLC Consultant Firm.

Exploring the bigger picture, the op-ed adds: (more…)

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An empty early childhood classroom

 

Now that Governor Charlie Baker has ordered child care programs to close to slow the pace of coronavirus infections, many early education and care (EEC) providers are sharing concerns about their sudden challenges.

(Emergency child care is still available for health care workers and other critical professions including grocery story workers and law enforcement.)

As policymakers steer through this public health crisis, they should listen to the voices of early educators who are trying to stay well, support families, and avoid economic collapse.

In response to a Strategies for Children survey, providers have shared their short- and long-term concerns.

Among the immediate concerns: (more…)

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Strategies for Children is working with the early education community to share urgent needs and advocacy strategies to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus. If you are a parent or early educator and would like more information at this time, please contact Amy O’Leary at aoleary@strategiesforchildren.org.

 


 

 

The Washington, D.C.-based think tank New America is pointing to a tough knot that’s challenging the field of early education – and New America is proposing ways to untangle this knot.

This “long-standing thorny knot,” New America says, is composed of three of the field’s “most challenging issues: preparation and education, compensation and status, and diversity and inclusivity.”

These issues are addressed in “Moving Beyond False Choices for Early Childhood Educators—A Compendium,” which is “the culmination of an 18-month blog series that engaged diverse viewpoints.” These viewpoints agree in some areas and dissent in others.

Last week, New America hosted a related event (recorded in the YouTube video above) to discuss these issues.

Among those trying to untie early education’s knot is Albert Wat, a senior policy director at the Alliance for Early Success.

How, Wat asks in the opening essay of the compendium, can the field ask early educators to earn higher education degrees and simultaneously preserve diversity? And, “How do we acknowledge the competencies and diversity of the field’s incumbent workforce and at the same time, build an even stronger profession for the future?” (more…)

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To chart a course for the future, the Department of Early Education and Care has a new strategic plan. Please check it out, so you can keep up with the department and its work.

“We cannot separate children and family outcomes,” EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy said on Tuesday at the EEC Board meeting where the plan was presented.

“We hold children and families in a single breath,” the commissioner added, explaining that child outcomes along with educational outcomes, social opportunities, and economic outcomes are all braided parts of overall family success.

The commissioner noted that EEC’s work benefits the state’s workforce in two ways: by preparing children for future success as workers, and by investing in the existing workforce of early education and care providers.

“And we know that quality matters across all of that.”

The board voted unanimously to approve the plan. (more…)

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Last week, 350 people (many of them strategically wearing red) came to the Massachusetts State House for Advocacy Day for Early Education & Care and School Age Programs.

 

Caitlin Jones and Leishla Diaz of The Guild of St. Agnes in Worcester

 

The morning started with speeches from legislators and the commissioner of Early Education and Care – as well as remarks from a parent and from another parent who became an early educator.

 

 

Afterwards, attendees went to meet with the legislators. Here’s a recap of what the speakers said. (more…)

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“As a constituent, I am grateful for the services offered,” Nairobi Woodberry, a Framingham mother of three, said yesterday at Advocacy Day 2020 about the early education and care support she has received, including a booklet with information about Framingham’s public parks and school contact information as well as advice on how to look for quality early education and care programs. Woodberry is also part of the ParentChild Plus+ program, which provides home visiting and other services to families.

Woodberry, who was previously homeless, now works as a school bus driver.

 

 

 

Early educators attended Advocacy Day and spoke about the importance of being paid higher wages so that they can stay in the field — and support their own families.

 

Sign: “Thank you for supporting high-quality early education.”

 

Photos: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

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