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    FEBRUARY 2017
House Speaker DeLeo prioritizing the early education workforce

There’s promising news for early educators in the House’s budget proposal. The developing budget would give early educators a much-needed salary increase. The Boston Globe reports: “‘We’re at a tipping point,’ said DeLeo, citing the many underpaid and unqualified workers who tend to the state’s youngest students. ‘It’s a workforce which, quite frankly, I believe is in crisis.’” In addition, House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop) “plans to file a bill to expand professional development for early educators to bolster a system he described as ‘in crisis,’” according to the State House News Service.

DeLeo’s efforts build on a report from a group he convened last year, the Early Education and Care Business Advisory Group. “When taken at face value, early education and care may not seem like a business or labor issue. But make no mistake, it is,” DeLeo says. As the advisory group’s report explains: “access to high-quality EEC can increase the talent pool available to meet employers’ workforce needs.” Read more.
Governor Baker’s state budget proposal

On January 25, Governor Charlie Baker released his state budget proposal for fiscal year 2018. The $40.5 billion budget represents a 4.3 percent increase over current year spending.

Early education and care was level funded in the budget. The governor proposed a $7 million rate increase for the early education and care workforce, and increases for early education access accounts. Reach Out and Read, which recently lost its $1 million in state funding during mid-year budget cuts, was not funded in the governor’s budget. Visit our budget webpage for a full listing of line items and how they fared. We will be updating this page at each stage of the FY18 state budget debate.

The House of Representatives will release its budget in April. Stay tuned for opportunities to advocate for increased investments the FY18 state budget.
The ECE Scholarship is getting a makeover

The Early Childhood Educators Scholarship Program helps early childhood and after-school educators earn college degrees – either an associate or a bachelor’s. The scholarship launched 10 years ago and since its creation the program has received annual state appropriations of roughly $3 million that have funded scholarships for thousands of early educators. Proposed changes aim to increase degree completion and better meet the needs of the field. Read more.

Event recap: Preschool Expansion, Local Momentum in Massachusetts

“We now know there are more kids in more programs, but clearly not enough, clearly not enough,” Chris Martes, president and CEO of Strategies for Children, told the 100 participants at a meeting that was held in December in downtown Boston for the community teams from across Massachusetts that are focused on expanding preschool opportunities for children and families. Visit our blog for audio clips and photos from the event, and our events page for the power point slides and more details.

Strategies for Children is working to coordinate local community teams as they begin to implement the “low hanging fruit” of their preschool plans, while advocating for the necessary public dollars to enroll more children in high-quality preschool programs. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.


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

Video: Communities Built for Children, February 7

Innovative Financing for Early Education, February 2

International Lessons on Early Education and Care, January 24

In Quotes: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh Makes Historic Proposal for Pre-K, January 20

Advising the Incoming President on Early Education, January 5

The Boston Globe Looks at the High Price of Child Care in Massachusetts, December 20

CAP Early Childhood @CAPEarlyEd Feb 6
The early childhood workforce does critical work but is underpaid & undervalued. Here are 6 policies to support them  

Put MA Kids First @PutMAKidsFirst Jan 31
Change the First Five Years … #ece #earlyed #investinkids

Massachusetts EEC @MassEarlyEdCare Jan 30
Thank you Beth Sagan for your years of leadership and service to the #families of the Commonwealth Children's Center and the #earlyed field!

Boston Globe Opinion ‏@GlobeOpinion Jan 24
Mayor @marty_walsh's preschool proposal is a smart and admirable one. #mapoli

Arthur Rolnick @artrolnick44 Jan 23
Time to Expand Early Childhood Education … via @HuffPostEdu, #mnleg, #minneminds

MassEducation ‏@MassEducation Jan 19
Thanks to @therenniecenter for inviting Chairs from our 3 Boards to speak about the #COE2017 @MassDHE @MASchoolsK12 @MassEarlyEdCare

The Alliance @4earlysuccess Jan 18
A community in #MA is expanding to full day #PreK  #bthru8 #EarlyEd



notes from Amy

The EEC Board meeting was held on Valentine’s Day, so I took the opportunity to share some love during the public comment and highlight progress over the last few months.

I thanked Commissioner Weber and the Board members for supporting early educators in their FY18 budget recommendations and including $36 million to support workforce and quality. We were encouraged to see that Governor Baker’s FY18 state budget proposal included a $7 million rate increase for the early education workforce.

Several early education bills have been filed by state legislators, including An Act Ensuring High-Quality Early Education filed by Representative Alice Peisch and Senator Sal DiDomenico.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo released the findings and recommendations of the Early Education and Care Business Advisory Group to support the early education workforce.

We were encouraged to see good news in the report released with findings from the first year of implementing the federally funded Preschool Expansion Grant (PEG) program in five communities across the state: Boston, Holyoke, Lawrence, Lowell and Springfield.

The Department of Early Education and Care contracted with Abt Associates to conduct a longitudinal evaluation of the PEG program in Massachusetts.

We agree with Governor Baker who said, “The Preschool Expansion Grant program is developing important partnerships between participating school districts and community-based early education and care programs. The five participating cities are making significant progress toward supporting our goal of helping all children achieve math and reading proficiency by third grade.”

We are seeing the momentum continue on the local level with the 13 communities who received funding to develop plans to expand preschool. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh made a big push for pre-K in his State of the City address.

As the Commonwealth develops its consolidated state plan for the federal Every Student Succeeds Act, we invite you to learn more about opportunities to strengthen the alignment and coordination between early childhood and the K-12 education systems in Massachusetts. Join us on Wednesday, March 1, 10:30 AM – 12 PM. Click here to RSVP.

Lastly, MassBudget has released a new report that looks at the “federal funding sources that the state uses to provide access to affordable health care, help children thrive, assist low-income families, and care for veterans.” According to the report, 70% of funding for the MA Department of Early Education and Care is federal.

We continue to work with our federal advocacy partners to understand the latest news and updates from Washington DC and potential impact for young children and families. Stay informed and call your elected officials to let them know your priorities.


617.330.7380           400 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02110 
Strategies for Children works to ensure that Massachusetts invests the resources needed for all children, from birth to age five, to access high-quality early education programs that prepare them for success in school and life.