Baker: Preschool program delivering results in cities
Early education advocates have long argued that high-quality pre-school learning environments lead to positive results for children and that argument is buttressed by a report released by the state Tuesday, a day before House Speaker Robert DeLeo is set to outline early education goals. The report is based on assessments of 48 preschool classrooms that opened in 2015, with federal funding, in five communities: Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell and Springfield. The findings show those cities "are taking significant progress toward supporting our goal of helping all children achieve math and reading proficiency by third grade," Gov. Charlie Baker said in a statement. According to the Department of Early Education and Care, children in the Preschool Expansion Grant programs demonstrated age-appropriate skills in math and letter-word recognition, self-regulation and the ability to develop positive relationships. Teachers were well compensated and well-educated, and classroom observers found moderate to high levels of quality across different measurements. Based on the evaluation, the grant program plans to provide additional focus on "professional development supports for educators, collaboration for inclusive programming, more consistent provision of comprehensive services to children and families, and capacity-building at all levels." House Speaker Robert DeLeo plans on Wednesday to announce steps the House plans to take related to the recommendations of his Early Education and Care Business Advisory Council, which is releasing its findings and recommendations. According to the department, the grant program could serve as a model for expanding preschool to all four-year-olds from low-income families in Massachusetts. - Michael P. Norton/SHNS
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