Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

“Welcome to the world, baby. Your parents have to return to work just days after you were born thanks to America’s lack of paid leave. Which means you’re on your own, baby!

“The average mommy or daddy loses $4,600 in just six weeks without paid leave, and you cost even more!”

“Get your sh$t together baby,” Glamour 

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MIT pic

Photo: Yan Krukau, Pexels

“Children who attend preschool at age four are significantly more likely to go to college, according to an empirical study led by MIT economist Parag Pathak.

“To conduct the study, Pathak and his colleagues followed more than 4,000 students who took part from 1997 to 2003 in a lottery the Boston public school system conducted to allocate a limited number of preschool slots.

“The lottery created a natural experiment, allowing the researchers to track the educational outcomes of two otherwise similar groups of students when one group attended preschool while the other did not. In decades of research on preschool programs, this approach has rarely been applied. 

“The result: among students of similar backgrounds, those who did attend preschool were 8.3 percentage points more likely to enroll in college right after high school. There was also a 5.4-percentage-­point increase in college attendance at any time.

“ ‘It’s a pretty large effect,’ says Pathak. ‘It’s fairly rare to find school-based interventions that have effects of this magnitude.’ ”

“The preschool boost,” by Peter Dizikes, MIT Technology Review, April 25, 2023

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“Covid provided an opportunity to really highlight this issue in ways that we’ve never seen. To have babies sitting behind Zoom cameras, to have toddlers trying to be busy while people were working from home; suddenly all the things we knew [about families’ early education and care needs] were in the public eye.

Ellis and SFC at BPR

Lauren Cook and Amy O’Leary at WGBH

“We have not changed our priorities even though the the brain science tells us how critical these early years are. So that’s what I’m hopeful for. It’s not just the people who work in this field, who have young children who are fighting for this. There’s been this bigger awareness of why we need high-quality programs starting at birth…”

— Amy O’Leary, “Boston Public Radio Full Show 4/18: Tax Day,” WGBH, April 18, 2023

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“ ‘Every place you go in the Framingham area, there are waiting lists for child care  it’s terrible,’ Mayor Charlie Sisitsky said during a forum last month on economic development.

“The lack of early childhood education providers has led to a crunch in openings for slots in preschools and other types of pre-kindergarten day care. Heidi Kaufman, executive director of education at the MetroWest YMCA, which oversees nearly 150 children in its pre-kindergarten program, said the YMCA program is booked to full capacity and has a lengthy waiting list.

“ ‘We are 100% full and we have no wiggle room whatsoever,’ she said. ‘Our wait list is so long, we won’t have any openings in the fall, which is usually when we have openings for the general community.’

“Despite already operating at full capacity, Kaufman said the YMCA would like to add to its staff, rather than relying on existing staff to work longer shifts with fewer breaks. But the child care industry in general has a limited amount of staff available. Some veterans are burned out by demands brought on by the pandemic, which made preschool and child care nearly impossible. And chronic understaffing can lead to those who remain to feel overworked and unable to perform the job to their ideal standards, leading to further burnout.” 

“Where are all the workers? Start with child care, politicians and others say,” by Jesse Collings, MetroWest Daily News, April 11, 2023

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Marcy Whitebook, director emerita of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, was recently interviewed about the history of child care and about its future. Here’s an excerpt of what she said. 

Barbara Zheutlin: ECHOES [The Early Childhood History Organizing Ethos and Strategy project] demonstrates that child care and education programs initially evolved based on the needs of families. How did “care” and “education” get divided?
Marcy Whitebook:

When kindergartens and nurseries were getting started, parents didn’t have enough money to pay for the care and education of their youngest children. The early advocates saw that they needed public funding, even in those very earliest years, if they were going to be able to pay for care for the youngest children. But the public schools in most states had a narrow definition of education, they only recognized reading, writing, and arithmetic as “education.”

Why was kindergarten such a radical idea when it was started?

People didn’t think that little children could learn. So, the idea that you could teach young children was radical. And kindergarten introduced the idea that children learn through playing. Many didn’t understand that through play, children were learning.

What surprised you about the early years of kindergarten?

I was amazed to discover that kindergarten was originally intended, and then often offered, to 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds.

So, why do we think that kindergarten is only for 5-year-olds?

Unfortunately, to get kindergarten established in the public schools, those advocating for kindergarten had to compromise. They had to accept that kindergartens in public schools would primarily be for 5-year-olds, because including younger kids would have meant more kids, which would have cost more money.

So, advocates made a budget-driven compromise, and we are all living today with the consequences. We are still fighting to get early care and education for children under age 5 in this country.

Another surprise was learning that it took 150 years to get kindergartens into the public schools. For those of us trying to get accessible child care, this is truly sobering.

“Women’s work? We need to make child care a national priority,” by Barbara Zheutlin, Berkeley News, March 30, 2023

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“During a recent BabyTalks webinar Beth Zack, PhD and Marley Jarvis, PhD shared research findings on infants’ and toddlers’ inherent capacity to learn multiple languages and identified strategies that educators and adults can use to support DLLs’ [dual language learners’] development. Through the course of the webinar, Zack and Jarvis also addressed several misconceptions about language learning in the first three years of life.

Misconception 1: The brain cannot accommodate learning more than one language in the early years.

Reality: Infant and toddler brains are more sophisticated than adults give them credit for and there is no better time to solidify bilingualism. As Zack and Jarvis shared, language development starts before a child is even born as babies begin to hear their parents’ voices in the womb during the third trimester. Because of this, babies can actually identify their parents’ home language as soon as they are born, and what is more, they are born being able to distinguish between the different sounds of all languages. Additionally, research has shown that babies can recognize a “foreign language,” that is, a language that differs from the predominant language used in their environment. They are also more interested in sounds from foreign languages because they are less familiar with them.”

“Dual Language Learning Among Infants and Toddlers: Addressing Misconceptions About Babies’ Brains,” a blog post by Leslie Villegas and Nicole Hsu, New America, February 8, 2023

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“Of the multitude of problems plaguing the UK, one issue is rising toward the top of the pile—and it has nothing to do with Brexit.

“Calls to tackle the exorbitant cost of early-years child care are growing louder ahead of the next general election, due within two years. There’s no easy fix for a system that’s become dominated by private interests, and any meaningful reform would likely require an injection of public funds at a time when Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is focused on tightening spending to bring down inflation.

“The average cost of a full-time nursery slot in Britain is about £14,000 ($17,000) a year, but it can be double that in London and other places. After taxes, the average household income is just over £32,000, making the UK the most expensive country in which to obtain care for children aged 2 and 3, relative to wages, in the 38-member Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.” [The United States is the second most expensive country.]

“The expense is particularly painful with prices for just about everything rising, and it’s eroding decades of progress in getting more women into the workforce… ‘Unless politicians wake up to the fact that this will be a doorstep election issue, they’re going to meet some very, very angry parents,’ says Sarah Ronan, who leads work on early education and child care for the nonprofit Women’s Budget Group.”

“UK Getting It ‘Totally Wrong’ on Soaring Child Care Costs,” by Olivia Konotey-Ahulu, Bloomberg, February 13, 2023

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The Early ChildhoodAgenda’s plan has been released! To learn more, check out the Agenda’s website and read about the Agenda’s 10 priorities for improving the early childhood environment in Massachusetts.


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“There was never much doubt that House and Senate Democrats would return Ron Mariano [the House Speaker] and Karen Spilka [the Senate President] to the top posts in the Legislature for the two-year term that started Wednesday, but the occasion did produce glimpses into the policy areas where each veteran legislative leader will attempt to wield their supermajority margins in the coming months.”

“Mariano and Spilka voiced mutual interest Wednesday in addressing the slow-burning crisis in the early education and child care sector, where providers are coping with widespread staffing shortages, workers are languishing on low wages and families are struggling to pay for care, if they can even find available slots.

“ ‘We know how important early education and care is, both to addressing the “she-cession” that worsened during the pandemic and in preparing our children to learn. Simply put, it is past time to update the way we imagine and support this crucial sector,’ Spilka said.

“The Senate unanimously approved a bill in July seeking a years-long expansion of subsidies, increased pay and benefits for workers, and permanent grants to stabilize providers, but the timing of the bill’s passage left the House with little time to fashion a response.

“Mariano’s comments on Wednesday could signal that he wants his chamber to get more involved in the issue this time around, though he stopped short of embracing the expansive proposal backed by the Senate last session.

“ ‘This session, the full attention of the House will be directed at examining ways to further support our vital early education and care workforce,” Mariano said. “This workforce is made up largely of women and often women of color. As we work to build a system to provide affordable access to quality child care for Massachusetts families, I was proud of the work done last session to increase salaries and other key supports for EEC workers, and I’m confident that the Legislature can do more on this critical issue.’ ”

“Speaker Mariano and President Spilka share some top priorities in new legislative session,” by Chris Lisinski and Sam Drysdale, State House News Service, posted on WGBH’s website, January 4, 2023

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“Last week, while history was being made on the floor of the House of Representatives, a (mostly) quieter, but no less historic event was happening in the Democratic cloak room.

“Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) brought his 4-month-old baby to work. In between votes, he changed diapers on the Democratic cloak room floor and bottle-fed his child. And Gomez wasn’t the only one on daddy duty in the House. Other parents — including Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) — brought their children to work as well. Yes, it was adorable and brightened up an otherwise dour C-SPAN feed. But the tweets about bringing babies to work, swapping parenting tips and taking breaks to feed and change also highlight a problem that is no stranger to the vast majority of this country’s parents.

“Child care is out of reach for many families in America. For most, it is too expensive and too hard to access. Parents, early learning providers and program administrators are overwhelmed, overburdened and under-resourced — and everyone is feeling the impact. Even our members of Congress.”

“America 2023: When even members of Congress don’t have child care,” by Michelle McCready, The Hill, January 9, 2023

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