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Archive for the ‘Funding’ Category

Senator Elizabeth Warren talks to a very young constituent. Source: Senator Warren’s Instagram account

 

“I just want to start by thanking you for all the work you’re doing to keep children safe and to support our community,” Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said Friday when she joined a Strategies for Children Zoom call, adding:

“This is an unprecedented time for our communities, for our nation, for the entire world — and a time when it is so easy for the most vulnerable, the ones who don’t have their own lobbyists in Washington to get left behind.”

In a lively, inspiring conversation, Warren shared details about the $50 billon child care bailout bill she co-filed with Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) to help the early education and care field survive the coronavirus pandemic and thrive afterwards. Warren also listened to questions and feedback from providers.

“I know that a lot of you on this call have concerns about how the childcare market is going to make it through this very challenging situation. And that is the reason why I’m fighting so hard to help every child care provider weather this crisis and come out on the other side stronger than ever before,” Warren said.

“We’re fighting in Congress to make sure that the funding is there, so that when it’s safe, every child care provider is able to reopen their doors.”

Warren has a three-part plan for the field: (more…)

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“Day care providers in Massachusetts, already ordered closed since March 23, could struggle to ever reopen unless they can get more aid, according to early childhood advocates.

“Gov. Charlie Baker announced that schools and non-emergency day care programs would remain closed through June 29. Even as it’s the necessary decision for public health, advocates say lengthening the closure puts a strain on an already fragile system of care with thin operating margins.

“Advocates estimate about half of the child care market in Massachusetts is funded directly by individuals and families, many of whom are facing loss of income and other uncertainties.

“ ‘We know that programs need those dollars to survive,’ said Amy O’Leary, director of the Early Education for All campaign with the group Strategies for Children. ‘I’m worried that we’re going to come to a point where programs just cannot continue to stay open without some serious investment.’ ”

“Extended Closures Could Mean Some Mass. Daycares Never Reopen,” by Kathleen McNerney, Edify, WBUR, April 23, 2020

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As a presidential candidate, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) was famous for “having a plan for that.”

And while her presidential bid has ended, she still has another vital plan: A $50 billion plan to bailout child care.

Based in part on her personal experience, Warren is a powerful advocate who understands the personal and economic importance of child care.

Last month, Warren shared the need for this wise investment in a Boston Globe op-ed she coauthored.

This week, a Medium article that Warren co-wrote with Senator Tina Smith (D-Minnesota) plainly says, “Here’s the stark truth: when the time comes, we will not be able to rebuild our economy if this country’s child care system has collapsed beneath the economic burden of this pandemic.”

“Meanwhile,” a Vox article about the senators’ position says, “parents are left wondering whether their children’s care providers will even be in business when the pandemic is over, making child care possibly harder to find and more expensive than before.”

This risk is real. As the senators say in their Medium article: (more…)

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Photo: Alessandra Hartkopf for Strategies for Children

 

Some 500 organizations, including Strategies for Children, have signed a letter that asks Congress to make a $50 billion investment in child care.

“Child care’s essential status demands dedicated relief that acknowledges the unique needs of a system that was already teetering on the edge of financial viability before this pandemic,” the letter says. “Specifically, we request that Congress provide at least $50 billion in total funding dedicated to child care to offer immediate relief to providers, educators, and families during this crisis.”

“Without these investments, we risk the disintegration of our child care infrastructure, leaving children, families, and child care workers with no system to return to as we recover,” the letter adds.

“At the beginning of this crisis, nearly 50% of child care providers predicted that they would not survive more than two weeks of closures without support; many of these closures have begun, and, without a clear end in sight, the widespread effects are already being felt. Providers that remain open are struggling to cover their operational costs, with reduced enrollment, especially as they try to protect the wellbeing of their workers and the families they serve during this pandemic.” (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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“The 2008 recession led to significant decreases in budgets for state pre-K programs. Prior to 2008, state pre-K funding had been increasing each year. However, from 2010 through 2013, state spending declined by as much as $548 million per year. When funding fell, so did enrollment and funding per child, meaning more children and families missed out on the educational and financial benefits of high-quality preschool. With most state pre-K programs targeted to children from low-income families, this decline fell primarily on the children who most benefit from the additional support provided by a year of preschool prior to entering kindergarten. While several states have been investing in early learning programs in recent years, past recessions indicate that these programs are likely at risk due to state budget shortfalls, making it more important than ever for the federal government to provide funding to support access to high-quality early education.”

 

“Congress Needs To Ensure Educational Equity in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic,” by Viviann Anguiano, Marcella Bombardieri, Neil Campbell, Antoinette Flores, Steven Jessen-Howard, Laura Jimenez, and Simon Workman, the Center for American Progress, April 2, 2020

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

 

Here at Strategies for Children, we have been inspired by the early education and care community’s collaborative spirt.

We are in this together.

People at the local, state and national level are all fighting for children, families, educators, providers and the early education and care system.

To contribute to this effort we have created a new page on our website that we will update frequently with information and resources.

We also want to update you on what has been happening so far:

On Friday, March 27th, 2020, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stimulus (CARES) Act was signed into law. This legislation will provide critical help for the early childhood education sector, including these highlights reported by NAEYC: (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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Massachusetts has received great news.

The state’s federal Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) program “had a powerful impact on children’s early academic skills. The program proved effective for all children on average,” Yahoo Finance reports.

The analysis of the PEG grant was conducted by Abt Associates.

Among Abt’s findings, according to a press release:

“PEG improved children’s readiness for kindergarten by providing:

• a sizable positive impact on children’s early literacy and math skills, and

• a smaller positive impact on vocabulary skills.”

“PEG had an even bigger impact on children from homes where English was not the primary language and for children with no prior formal child care experience,” Education Dive adds. (more…)

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Amy O’Leary and Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

What a year it has been at Strategies for Children! Here are some of our highlights:

• Looking back to look forward

In December of 2018, we gathered at the State House to celebrate the tenth anniversary of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care, which became law in 2008. “It’s like getting the band back together,” Pat Haddad (D-Somerset), Speaker Pro Tempore of the House, said of the many colleagues who joined us. At the event, Amy O’Leary moderated, and we heard from a lineup of speakers including Haddad, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop), other state officials, and local early education program directors. Many of the speakers remarked that though they have had different roles over the last ten years, their commitment to high-quality early education for all remains strong.

It was also a year of transition at the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). In June we thanked Commissioner Tom Weber for his six successful years of leadership. We then welcomed new EEC Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy back to Massachusetts with a “meet-and-greet” co-hosted by the early education field. We look forward to working with Commissioner Sam on a shared vision for her department’s future. (more…)

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