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    MAY 2015
Mass. House of Representatives passes FY16 state budget

On Wednesday, April 29, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass a $38.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2016.

The final House budget funds the Department of Early Education and Care and its programs at $539.41 million, a $10 million increase over Governor Baker's budget proposal. In addition, the House budget provides a $5 million Rate Reserve for early educator salaries, benefits and professional development, and a restoration of the full-day kindergarten grant program at $18.59 million, the current FY15 funding level. Visit our website for a complete listing of early education and care line items and how they are funded across different budget proposals.

The state budget process now shifts to the Senate, which is expected to release its budget proposal the week of May 11. Email your senator and ask to prioritize funding to support high-quality early education and care in the budget.
Pre-K legislation gains momentum

This legislative session, several bills have been filed to expand high-quality Pre-K offerings in the commonwealth. One of these—“An Act Ensuring High Quality Pre-Kindergarten Education”— calls on Massachusetts to follow New Jersey’s example by providing “access to high-quality pre-kindergarten programs for 3-and 4-year-olds living in underperforming school districts.” The bill’s lead sponsors are Representative Alice Peisch and Senator Sal DiDomenico.

A corresponding Pre-K for MA campaign was launched at the State House on March 31 and featured remarks from legislators, superintendents, community based providers and parents. Led by Strategies for Children and Stand for Children, this campaign has generated several press stories, op-eds, and favorable editorials. Stay tuned in the months ahead as Pre-K legislation continues to gain momentum.

Social-emotional learning in the early years

“We must set children up to do well in the classroom and beyond,” a new Strategies for Children policy brief explains, adding that it is crucial, “to invest in early education and care programs that will promote social-emotional skill development…”

Written by Sophie Barnes, who is enrolled in the Child Advocacy strand of the Human Development and Psychology program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the brief adds: “Research shows that high-quality early education and care has many benefits. Chief among these is the impact on young children’s social-emotional development, which may be as important or more so than traditional pre-academic skill development (e.g., number and letter recognition).”

This research comes at a critical time for state policy. On April 14, 2015, the Board of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) voted and approved the Preschool and Kindergarten Standards for Social and Emotional Learning. EEC previously engaged in a process of public feedback and revisions. Next steps include review by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education, Senate and House Ways and Means, for at least sixty (60) days prior to anticipated implementation.


Check out our Eye on Early Education blog for recent stories you may have missed.

Voices from the field—Susan LaCroix, May 1

Using Word Games to Boost Early Literacy Skills: A Blog Series, April 28

Harvard Professor Robert Putnam Writes About “Our Kids”, April 13

New Bedford Promotes School-Readiness by Building Children’s Social and Emotional Skills, April 8

CDA Council @cdacouncil  · May 1
High quality early care and education is crucial to ensure all children are ready for school and life #WorthyWages
Grade-Level Reading @readingby3rd · Apr 27
.@NickKristof in the @nytimes: Refocus education reform passion and energy to kids 0-5: #GLReading

HarvardFamilyResProj @HFRP · Apr 24
@usedgov @LibbyDoggett we don't want #familyengagement to be any one person's job! It's every person's job. #hfrpinteract

Mayor @danrivera01843 helping us kick off #BrainBuildinginProgress Week! @MassEarlyEdCare @GLCACInc #IAmABrainBuilder

Amy O'Leary @AmyEO · Apr 10
Senate President @SenStan—surprise guest at #WAAEYC Legislative Breakfast! Thank you for your leadership!! @NAEYC

Massachusetts EEC @MassEarlyEdCare · Mar 24
Today @SpfldMACityHall Public Schools @YMCASpringfield @SquareOne signed MOUs for #PreK expansion to start this fall!



notes from Amy

This month we started a new series on our Eye On Early Education Blog called Voices from the Field. The series will feature first person accounts from early educators from across Massachusetts. Our first post is by Susan LaCroix, an early educator who has benefited from the MA Department of Early Education and Care’s (EEC) Educator and Provider Support Grant. Her post is based on compelling public testimony she shared at an EEC Board meeting in April.

We must share these stories and testimonies with policy makers. It is especially important during “budget season” as line items and programs are being discussed at the State House. Please let us know if you know early educators who would like to share their story.


617.330.7380           400 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02110 
The Early Education for All Campaign works to ensure that children in Massachusetts have access to high-quality early education and become proficient readers by the end of third grade. EEA is a broad-based coalition of leaders from business, early childhood, labor, religion, health care, education and philanthropy, allied with parents, grassroots leaders and policymakers on behalf of children and families.