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House Speaker Robert DeLeo at Advocacy Day in the State House in 2014. Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

“We all understand that a key component of any recovery is access to safe child care.

“Through our work together over the years with the EEC Workforce Task Force and championing innovative new models in order to foster increased coordination between early education programming and health care, the House of Representatives has stood by our Early Education and Care providers and most vulnerable children. We have focused on this sector in order to prioritize the health and wellbeing of children, today and beyond.

“With your help, the Early Education and Care Business Advisory group also made key recommendations including a multi-year action plan for targeting investments that strengthened our EEC efforts in Massachusetts. And the House has lived up to our commitment. We led the way to provide more than $60 million in unprecedented increases to support the workforce and improve programs for the most at-risk children.

“Now COVID-19 threatens that progress. Providers will need to consider new health and safety protocols, which will likely affect the overall capacity of the system. I am pleased to announce that Chair Peisch, informed and supported by the work of Chair Ferrante, will spearhead a newly-formed Early Education and Care Recovery Advisory Group to ensure businesses and providers are prepared to support families and workers in this new landscape. The group will look at how health protocols will impact childcare, examine the financing models for programs amid tremendous change, and explore the effect the pandemic has had on programs in communities of color and those throughout the sector.”

 

— House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s prepared remarks to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, May 21, 2020

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Last week was the latest entry in Strategies for Children’s Advocacy 101 webinars.

The topic: state budget updates — or, to put it more bluntly, what COVID-19 has done to the budget.

Earlier this year, before the pandemic shut down Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker submitted his fiscal year ’21 budget.

“This budget would have continued an eighth consecutive year of increases for early education,” Titus DosRemedios, Strategies director of research and policy, says in the webinar. (more…)

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How should Massachusetts reopen its early education and care programs?

By being responsive to the new needs that parents and employers have in a COVID-19 world.

That’s why Strategies for Children and 38 other organizations have submitted a letter to Governor Charlie Baker’s Reopening Advisory Board, which is actively seeking public feedback as it develops a plan “to reopen the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics.”

As our letter explains, taking careful next steps is essential.

“As you develop recommendations for how best to re-boot economic recovery in Massachusetts,” the letter says, “we ask that you include an intentional focus on reopening and strengthening the child care sector. No recovery will be successful if employees and working families do not have access to safe, affordable, high-quality child care for their children.”

The letter also points to the business sector’s support for child care, explaining: (more…)

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Source: NIEER

 

This year, in its annual Yearbook, NIEER is taking on the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the midst of this devastating crisis, NIEER (the National Institute for Early Education Research) is wisely calling on the country to act by drawing on some of the valuable lessons learned from the Great Recession.

As its executive summary explains, the Yearbook offers government policymakers “valuable information for planning short- and long-term responses to the crisis” that includes “information on where children are served, operating schedules, and other program features relevant to planning the education of children in a post-COVID-19 world.”

Since NIEER launched its Yearbook in 2002, states have made consistent but slow progress on investing in early childhood programs.

When the Great Recession took its toll, states cut early childhood spending.

Now: “Despite a brief upturn, pre-K’s long-term growth rate remains lower than before the Great Recession.” And some states “had not fully reversed their quality standards reductions by 2018-2019.” (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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Today is Advocacy Day 2020 for Early Education & Care and School Age Programs and there are TWO ways to participate. 

You can come to the Massachusetts State House. Here’s the schedule:

9:30 a.m.

Registration in the Great Hall

10:00 a.m.

Speakers – including Early Education and Care Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

11:15 a.m.

Meetings with Legislators

 

Or you can participate right from your program by:

• finding your elected officials and their contact information by going to www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com

• following them on social media

• taking pictures of your program and share them with your state representatives and state senators on Facebook and Twitter. Use the hashtags #ValueEarlyEducators and #ValueAfterSchoolEducators

 

The next step? Keep the advocacy going! In the coming weeks and months you can: (more…)

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It is time to get ready for Advocacy Day!

This year, Advocacy Day for Early Education & Care and School Age Programs will be on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at 9:30 a.m. at the Massachusetts State House.

Please note that there are two ways to participate!

You can go to the State House.

Or:

You can participate from your early education and care program.

Click on one of the two links above to let us know how you will be participating.

To get ready for Advocacy Day, be sure to register for the next Strategies for Children Advocacy 101 webinar — Getting Ready for Advocacy Day for Early Education & Care and School Age Programs — which will be held online on Wednesday, February 26 at 1:30 p.m. Click here to RSVP.

(You can learn more about the first Advocacy 101 webinar here.)

We will share more details about how to participate from your program and what to expect if you are coming to the State House. We’ll also record the webinar, so you can listen anytime.

As we prepare, here is what you can do now:

• Visit www.WhereDoIVoteMA.com to find your elected officials and print out the page with your information. Just enter your home address and you will get all the information you need!

• If you are going to come to the State House, call your legislator’s office and schedule an appointment to meet with them.

• Share information about Advocacy Day with your colleagues and with families in your program. And please make sure each person registers, so we can share information with everyone who is interested.

Legislators need to hear the voices of educators, family child care providers, and families!

We are excited about building on the momentum that Advocacy Day has generated in past years, including last year and the year before.

If you have any questions, please contact Amy O’Leary, director of Strategies for Children’s Early Education for All campaign, at aoleary@strategiesforchildren.org or (617) 330-7384.

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“We are gearing up for Advocacy Day on March 5, but advocacy can happen all throughout the year, and can take many forms,” Amy O’Leary says.

That’s the advice Amy shared yesterday during Advocacy 101, a webinar sponsored by Strategies for Children. A video of the webinar is posted here.

Called “If Not Us, Then Who?”, the webinar is the first installment in what will be a series put together by Amy, Strategies’ director of the Early Education for All Campaign, and Titus DosRemedios, our director of research and policy.

Advocacy, Amy says in the webinar, has many faces. It can mean testifying at the State House or talking to your Uber driver. It can mean being out front or working behind the scenes.

One strategy? Speak up where you feel comfortable. (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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