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Make Young Children a Priority
High-quality early education is a research-based strategy for helping children prepare for success in school and life. Yet here in Massachusetts, many children don’t have this opportunity, due to cost, quality, and access issues.

Let's level the playing field for all our children, and live up to our reputation as a national leader in education and social policy.


Be a Champion for Young Children

As a Voter

  • Make sure you vote! See where.
  • Learn about the candidates and their education platforms. Click here for state election candidates, as well as ballot questions, and early voting information.
    [3rd Congressional District voters: read our recap of the June 10 candidate forum on children, families, and education].
  • Stay current. Follow early education news by joining our e-mail list and reading our Eye on Early Education blog.
  • Enagage Candidates. Speak up! Ask questions and engage candidates in conversation about prioritizing young children:
    • What is your plan to ensure that all young children have access to high-quality early education?
    • How will you support the professional development and compensation of the early education and care workforce?
    • What will you do to make sure we invest the public dollars needed into programs for children?  
  • Enagage Your Community. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper urging candidates to prioritize young children in the election. Contact Titus DosRemedios, SFC's director of research and policy, for assistance.

As a Candidate

  • Children are born learning. Make sure your education platform supports young children and families by including high-quality early education and care and third grade reading proficiency.
  • Learn more about the research and data about children and families in your communities. For more information contact Titus DosRemedios, SFC's director of research and policy.
  • Understand the progress made in early education and care in Massachusetts, including major investments in the fiscal year 2019 state budget, the best budget in 10 years for early education.
  • Stay current. Follow early education news by joining our e-mail list and reading our Eye on Early Education blog.

Hot Topics:

  • Preschool expansion - read about the efforts of two communities to make preschool more accessible: Cape Cod and Springfield.
  • Affordability - learn about the high costs of preschool and full-day kindergarten here.
  • Full-Day Kindergarten - read our brief about the benefits of full-day kindergarten and its status in Massachusetts.
  • Early childhood workforce - read about workforce compensation in this New York Times article.


The Challenge
Massachusetts is recognized as a national leader in education, but our success is not shared equally. We can do better:

  • Our achievement gaps are among the largest in the nation, and they take root in early childhood.
  • By age 3, children in low-income families have vocabularies that, on average, are half the size of their higher-income peers' vocabularies
  • Demand for early education and care is high, but so is the cost. On average, families pay $12,176 per year for a 4-year-old in a center-based program, making Massachusetts the second most expensive state in the nation.
  • Only 27% of preschool-age children receive public funding for early education, through Head Start, public school preschool, and state child care subsidies.
  • Statewide, 53% of third graders read below grade level, including 71% of third graders from low-income families (2017 Next-Generation MCAS).
  • Children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times less likely to graduate from high school by age 19 than proficient readers.
  • In Massachusetts, the average high school dropout costs $349,000 more over a lifetime than the average graduate in reduced tax revenues and increased social costs.
  • We must ensure all children have the education and skills they'll need for the 21st century economy. College- and career- readiness begins with a strong foundation for learning in the early childhood years.

The Solution
Make research-based investments in young children, families, and the early education workforce:

  • The path to literacy begins at birth, with children's earliest language development, and includes high-quality early education.
  • Low-income children who attended high-quality preschool are 40% less likely to be placed in special education or retained in grade, 30% more likely to graduate from high school, and twice as likely to attend college.
  • Teacher quality is the most important component of program quality. We must ensure our early childhood educators in public and private settings are well trained, fairly compensated, and supported with ongoing professional development and leadership opportunities.
  • Nobel laureate James Heckman and other leading economists say high-quality early education prepares our future labor force and provides an estimated 10-16% return on investment.
  • Policy should support children's language and literacy development in all settings throughout the birth-third grade continuum
  • All children deserve strong foundations in social-emotional learning, and educators need training for supporting challenging behaviors and mental health of young children.
  • Preparing young children to become productive, engaged adults is good for children, families and taxpayers.
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