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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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Last month, Governor Charlie Baker signed the Student Opportunity Act into law – enacting a $1.5 billion investment in K-12 schools across the state that provides a badly needed update to the state’s school funding formula.

In addition — as we explain in this month’s Early Education for All update — the new law requires school districts to close the achievement gap through proven interventions. Several options are listed in the law, including “expanding early education and pre-kindergarten programming” by working with community-based organizations. (more…)

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“America, It’s Time to Talk About Child Care.”

That’s the title of a new report that declares what a lot of parents already know: America has a child care problem.

“…the federal government does not treat early childhood education as a public good nor does it provide adequate funding to support it,” the report says. “This chronic underfunding has led to a shortage of affordable, quality child care across the nation. And to the extent that child care is affordable for families, it is largely because early educators earn very low wages, and many must struggle to feed their own families.”

Eight organizations released the report jointly. They are: the Center for American Progress, the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for Law and Social Policy, Community Change, Every Child Matters, MomsRising, the National Women’s Law Center, and the Service Employees International Union.

This shortage of affordable, high-quality child care makes it tough for parents to go to work, which slows down the economy.

“Right now, the U.S. economy loses an astounding $57 billion per year in revenue, wages, and productivity as a result of child care problems,” the report warns. (more…)

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There’s an exciting, new education bill in the State House: the Student Opportunity Act.

It calls for “an unprecedented $1.5 billion new investment in Massachusetts public education,” a fact sheet says.

The bill also notes that K-12 education can benefit from strong preschool programs.

“The proposal — jointly announced by House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, and other legislative leaders — aims to bridge the divide in educational opportunities between poor and affluent systems by directing more money to districts that serve greater concentrations of students living in poverty or those with language barriers,” the Boston Globe reports.

 

(more…)

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Samantha Aigner-Treworgy

 

On Tuesday, early educators from across the state attended a meet-and-greet with the new commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC), Samantha Aigner-Treworgy – although, as she explained to one attendee, she goes by Sam.

 

Joel Cox, Partners for Community, and Aigner-Treworgy

 

“Thank you all for being here and for the very, very warm welcome home,” Aigner-Treworgy, a Massachusetts native, said at the event, which was held at the downtown Boston law firm Goulston & Storrs. (more…)

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

On July 31, 2019, Governor Charlie Baker signed the FY20 state budget into law. The new budget includes good news for early education and care, so please take a minute to thank the governor and members of the Legislature.

The governor did not veto any spending, preserving the $43.3 billion conference committee budget which was passed by the Legislature on July 22, 2019.

This year’s budget was bolstered by increased tax collections, and it includes a plan to control pharmaceutical drug costs, according to State House News Service.

The FY20 budget for early education and care represents continued progress and investment. This is the seventh consecutive budget since the historic spending low-point of FY13 that increases investments in young children, families, and early educators. It is the second year in a row that state investment has exceeded the pre-recession high-point of investment in FY09.

The FY20 budget also includes a $20 million rate increase for early educator salaries, $5 million in preschool grants through the Commonwealth Preschool Partnership Initiative, and $5 million in workforce development grants to community colleges. 

We’ve posted a complete list of early education line items as well as a Department of Early Education and Care funding trends chart  that covers fiscal years 2009 to 2020. 

So please let Governor Baker and your state legislators know that you appreciate them for investing in high-quality early education in this year’s state budget. 

For more information, contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org or (617) 330-7387.

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Photo: Alyssa Haywoode for Strategies for Children

 

After weeks of delay, the six-member conference committee has released a fiscal year 2020, $43.1 billion state budget for Massachusetts.

The budget was bolstered by increased tax collections, and it includes a plan to control pharmaceutical drug costs, according to the State House News Service.

Where the House and Senate differ on the allocations for early education and care line items, this budget includes the higher funding amounts. This includes a $20 million rate increase (from the House budget), $5 million in preschool grants (from the Senate budget), and $5 million in workforce development grants (from the House). 

The Legislature passed the budget on Monday, July 22. Governor Baker now has 10 days to sign the budget into law. He can also make line item vetoes. 

For more information contact Titus DosRemedios at tdosremedios@strategiesforchildren.org, (617) 330-7387.

For updates and a complete list of early education line items, visit Strategies’ state budget webpage.

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