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webinar

Photo: Artem Podrez from Pexels

The new federal investment in early education and care promises to have a broad impact.

To explore the details, the Alliance for Early Success has shared a new webinar explaining what to expect.

The webinar’s Spanish interpretation is posted here.

“We are very, very excited about this,” Danielle Ewen says in the webinar about the new federal funding. Ewen is a principal at EducationCounsel, an Alliance member and an education consulting firm. “This is a major, major opportunity to change the trajectory of life for children and families and providers.

“When you look at the Build Back Better proposal, the early childhood provisions are the second largest piece. We have never been the second largest piece of a major piece of legislation, ever.”

Build Back Better is still making its way through the legislative process, so it may change somewhat. But here are some key components as they stand now.

Part of the bill addresses income and health care, including: (more…)

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Mayor Kendrys Vasquez. Screenshot: The Instagram page of the Office of the Mayor of City of Lawrence, Massachusetts

 

Last year, in the middle of the pandemic, former Lawrence, Mass., Mayor Dan Rivera decided to create a $400,000 scholarship program for child care.

The program provided vouchers to low-income families. Some parents were essential workers. And most parents were earning salaries that were essential to their families’ survival.

Lawrence’s City Council approved the investment. But the funding was set to expire on December 31, 2020.

Fast forward to today, and the good news is that Lawrence is still investing in these child care scholarships.

Lawrence’s current mayor, Kendrys Vasquez, announced a two-year reinvestment and an expansion of the program, setting a leadership example that other cities can follow.

Mayor Vasquez knows the need for child care is real. One day when he was having lunch with his chief of staff and economic development director a constituent came up to his table to talk.

“She said, I had to quit my job because I cannot afford childcare, and now all I’m doing is Uber to be able to maintain my family and keep up with our expenses,” Vasquez recalled during a recent Strategies for Children 9:30 Call. The woman was relying on her mother to provide a few hours of child care. (more…)

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Mayor Marty Walsh. Photo: City of Boston Mayor's Office Flickr page

Mayor Marty Walsh. Source: City of Boston Mayor’s Office Flickr page

“The impact of prekindergarten on a student’s education is undeniable. It has a major impact on academic, social, and emotional development. BPS data shows that children who go to K1 outperform their peers in subsequent years—regardless of race or poverty. Research also shows us that early children programs with trained teachers, as well as smaller teacher-to-student ratios, result in higher MCAS achievement. On a broader scale, pre-kindergarten has led to improved behavior, both inside and outside the classroom, as well as the prevention of illegal and criminal behavior and success in the overall labor market and economy.

“We know families face challenges in sending their children to pre-kindergarten, whether it being an affordability, quality, or accessibility issue. That’s why we formed the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Advisory Committee. They are taking a close look on strategies to increase access to full-day pre-kindergarten, with a certified teacher, in a Boston Public School or community-based program.”

“Mayor Walsh: The Importance of Early Education,” by Mayor Martin Walsh, Jamaica Plain News, September 22, 2016

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Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Is universal pre-K worth the cost?

Yes, according to the national nonprofit Child Trends.

While research has found benefits in pre-K programs that focus on at-risk children, Child Trends has found new evidence about the benefits of universal pre-K programs that serve all children.

These findings are featured in a working paper released by Timothy Bartik at the Upjohn Institute, Jonathan A. Belford of Child Trends, Will T. Gormley of Georgetown University’s Center for Research on Children in the United States, and Sara Anderson from West Virginia University.

The focus of their analysis is Oklahoma. That’s where the Tulsa Public Schools’ universal pre-K program produces benefits — such as increased earnings and reduced crime — that “outweigh program costs by almost 2-to-1. That is, for every $1 spent on TPS universal pre-K, there is a societal gain of $1.89,” a Child Trends blog post explains(more…)

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Photo: Governor Shumlin's Flickr page

Photo: Governor Shumlin’s Flickr page

Thanks to a law passed in 2014, Vermont is breaking one of preschool’s glass ceilings. It’s the first state in the country to require communities to offer 10 hours a week of free, high-quality preschool to all of its 3- and 4-year-olds for 35 weeks a year.

“Universal Pre-K is a win for children, taxpayers, working families, and employers,” Vermont’s Governor Peter Shumlin said earlier this summer. “We all know that preparing children to enter elementary school ready to learn is one of the best ways [to] set up our next generation for success and avoid costly interventions later in life.”

“Shumlin signed the law in 2014 and it went into effect July 1, but some communities implemented programs early. The programs include those operated by community programs, public schools, private early education and care programs and Head Start,” according to the Burlington Free Press(more…)

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Teacher Jana Dunlap works with Grace Marder, 4, to come up with adjectives to describe a leaf the child found on a nature walk outside the Early Childhood Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Photo: Lillian Mongeau. Photo: The Hechinger Report

Teacher Jana Dunlap works with Grace Marder, 4, to come up with adjectives to describe a leaf the child found on a nature walk outside the Early Childhood Center in Muskogee, Oklahoma. Photo: Lillian Mongeau, The Hechinger Report

 

“Oklahomans have embraced free, universal early education — and it’s working,” the title of a story from the Hechinger Report declares. (Hechinger is an independent, nonprofit, education news outlet.)

Posted on PBS NewsHour’s website, the story focuses on Clinton, Okla.

“One of the biggest employers in this hardscrabble working class town in western Oklahoma is the Bar-S Foods Company meat packing plant, where many of the city’s 9,500 residents work. Clinton also boasts a Route 66 Museum, a somewhat epic indoor waterpark, and free universal preschool for every 4-year-old in town.

“Ninety-one percent of the town’s 170 4-year-olds enroll in a public program annually, said Tyler Bridges, the assistant school superintendent. About 140 attend the state-supported district preschool while another 15 or so attend the local Cheyenne-Arapahoe Head Start program.” (more…)

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