In response to Governor Baker’s budget proposal, the Put MA Kids First Coalition recently released a statement outlining the fundamental flaws with the proposed plan. The statement has receive widespread coverage in local and national media outlets across the country.
The story which can be read in its entirety here, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2015/03/05/early-childhood-education-advocates-fault-baker_ap.html, highlights the Governor’s proposed budget plan and narrows in on the fact that the proposed budget doesn’t do enough to address low salaries that have led to a high turnover rate in early education programs.
The coalition is quoted in the story “It’s time early education and out-of-school programs are recognized as essential elements of the education system,” the coalition said in a statement. “They are not extras, nor optional.”
Clearly from the coverage that Put MA Kids first has received with this statement, these issues are not Massachusetts-specific. Recognizing early education and out of school programs as part of the overall educational career of a student is a movement who’s time has come. Join us in working for a strong educational foundation for Massachusetts children.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo gave Boston business leaders a broad overview of where he wants to take the Legislature this year during a speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce at the Seaport Hotel today. In his speech, DeLeo pledged to renew efforts to support the state’s early education and care programs. Below is an excerpt from his comments:
Few areas carry more potential to improve the future of our children than early education and care. Through years of meeting with advocates, experts and parents – whether as the chair of House Committee on Ways & Means, as Speaker or in my early days as a town selectman – I’ve come to understand the game-changing nature of EEC. Multiple studies reinforce promising findings: adults who participated in high-quality programs earn more, have better employment and educational prospects and are less likely to commit crimes.
Real financial constraints shouldn’t prevent us from thinking ahead and renewing the framework to improve our EEC programming. Members of the House recognized over a decade ago, as we do now, that promoting quality programs and services for our youngest children is the best way to ensure they are on track for success. Our accomplishments were recently recognized by the federal government which is awarding Massachusetts funds to expand high-quality Pre-K programs in five high-needs communities, including Boston. I look forward to the lessons we can learn from Boston, and I applaud the city for its efforts which have garnered international acclaim.
This directly affects the business community; nearly seventy percent of children under the age of 6 have parents in the labor force. Our system benefits your current and future employees. We will be bold in our ambition yet fiscally prudent, creating long-term plans to achieve our goals, to make Massachusetts a place where opportunity abounds.
For a full look at Speaker Deleo’s visit to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, read the Boston Globe’s coverage here:
WBUR’s Learning Lab sat down last week with Marie St. Fleur, current president and CEO of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Foundation and leader of the Put MA Kids First Coalition, to discuss early education policy, achievement gaps and Put MA Kids First. Here’s an excerpt from the interview. For the full piece, click here: http://learninglab.wbur.org/2015/02/23/5-questions-with-put-ma-kids-first-coalition-leader-marie-st-fleur/.
Early education seems to be a topic on a lot of people’s minds recently — from the legislature to education advocates. What is missing from the discourse you’ve heard so far?
There are two things missing from the debate: One issue is the gap between brain research and public policy. We seem to be accumulating more and richer data about the critical importance of early development of the brain for successful long-term outcomes, but the state’s commitment to early education is not keeping pace. By a long shot.
From 2011 to 2012, state spending on early education and care dropped by $114 million — more than 50 percent — just as research has conclusively demonstrated that children’s brains develop rapidly through the birth-to-5 age period.
The second thing is equity. Research has consistently shown that kids who start the race ten steps behind aren’t likely to catch up, especially with their higher-income peers who had the benefits of greater resources and access to high-quality early education and enrichment programs from a very early age. That’s a message the business community needs to hear, because these kids are the workforce of the future, which will be more demanding in terms of intellectual capital. Continue reading
The “Put MA Kids First” coalition will be featured on WHDH’s “Urban Update” this Sunday, Feb. 22 at 11:30 a.m. Host Byron Barnett speaks to Marie St. Fleur on how the new coalition is working to shape public policy for early childhood education.
During the interview, Marie will discuss the coalition’s focus on achieving the best outcomes for the state’s youngest learners from birth to 12 years by promoting investment in successful, high-quality early education programs and the development of a well-qualified, fairly-compensated workforce.
Marie will also highlight some motivating factors that have inspired the “Put MA Kids First” coalition to affect change and increase momentum in delivering high-quality early education policies that benefit all of our children and the future of Massachusetts:
- Massachusetts’ funding for children’s early education has not kept up with inflation, resulting in a decline in funding by more than $114 million over the last 12 years.
- Early education teachers and out of school educators are significantly under compensated compared to their K-12 colleagues, making it difficult to retain highly-qualified educators in the sector. The turnover rate is 28 percent.
- Support for early education and care, including out of school time programs, appears to be growing in Massachusetts as well as nationally. Speaker DeLeo recently spoke of his support for early education funding, and Governor Baker has stated his commitment to early education and out of school time in his administration’s transition report.
- The Department of Early Education and Care has proposed a nine percent increase in funding for the coming fiscal year.
Don’t forget to tune in to WHDH-7 for “Urban Update” this Sunday, Feb. 22. Please spread the word and share with your networks and on social media.
Early Education and Out-of-School-Time Organizations Band Together As State Weighs Re-investment in Children
“Put MA Kids First” Forms Amid Heightened Attention to Early Learning
(Boston) — January 30, 2015 — A group of more than two-dozen early childhood education organizations and out-of-school programs have formed a new coalition to help shape public policy on a critical part of the state’s education system.
“Early education and care is not an option – it is an essential element of a successful education system,” said Marie St. Fleur, president and CEO of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative for Children and the former Chair of the House Education Committee. “We need to strengthen early education and out-of-school time by investing in successful, high-quality programs, as well as developing a well-qualified and fairly compensated work force.”
The launch of “Put MA Kids First”, a Coalition to Promote Early Education and Out of School Time, comes amid heightened attention to the state’s commitment to early education and care and out-of-school time. Continue reading