Local Officials Join with MA Fair Share to Call for Early Ed Investment

STATEMENT: 136 LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS JOIN WITH MASSACHUSETTS FAIR SHARE TO CALL FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN EARLY EDUCATION

Massachusetts Fair Share

CONTACT: Nathan Proctor, 203 522 3860

March 23, 2016

STATEMENT: 136 LOCAL ELECTED OFFICIALS JOIN WITH MASSACHUSETTS FAIR SHARE TO CALL FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN EARLY EDUCATION

Boston – Massachusetts Fair Share delivered a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 136 local elected officials that call for increased state investment in early education and care. Citing dropping levels of state funding, and the importance of ensuring all children start on a level playing field, the letter calls for additional funding to improve and expand early learning programs for children ages 0-5.

“We pride ourselves on education in Massachusetts, which is why we need to do better when it comes to early education. We know these earlier years can help set students up for a lifetime of success and have extremely high return on investment,” said Nathan Proctor, state director of Massachusetts Fair Share. “If we are serious about reducing the academic achievement gap, we need to make sure that every child starts kindergarten ready by making sure they can access high-quality early learning programs.”

Massachusetts Fair Share, along with the 60 other groups in the Put MA Kids First coalition, is calling for increased investments in early learning programs, anchored in a quality workforce. One of the top issues that the field of early education and care has identified is a dramatic drop in the number of early education programs, and alarmingly high turnover of the early educator workforce. Child Care Aware has tracked a 25% drop in the number of early education programs in Massachusetts since 2011. Wellesley College researchers point to a high early educator turnover rate of 30%. It’s clear that the field is suffering and in crisis.

The sign on letter is below. A full list of singers is available on our blog.

Strong Start for Massachusetts Children

Every child deserves a fair chance in life, and this begins with quality early education and care. Massachusetts should lead on education, but when it comes to early education, we’re falling behind. While states like Oklahoma guarantee a year of public preschool for every child, Massachusetts state spending on early education and care has declined by 50% since 2001.

Providing all children access to a high-quality early education is essential to creating a level playing field, so that no child starts kindergarten already behind. Participation in high-quality early learning programs helps children better realize their full potential, reduces the achievement gap and provides a strong foundation for future success.

I support increasing state investment in early education and care, in order to improve and expand programs for children ages 0-5 so that every child can access a high-quality early learning program.

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Thank our legislators for their work to support early education and care!