“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.”
On December 15th, President Obama announced that Massachusetts had received one of the new federal preschool grants. This grant is for up to $60 Million over the next four years towards addressing quality and staffing – Five Massachusetts Cities will receive $15 Million this year.
Our Association worked hard with EEC to shape this grant application, insisting on full-day, full-year care and building upon the successful community based system rather than looking at a public school based care.
This grant will make a positive impact on children in Holyoke, Springfield, Lowell, Lawrence and Boston. We are also very excited that 9 of the 11 selected early education programs to participate in this grant are members of this Association!
This successful grant application speaks to the quality of early education services delivered in Massachusetts by private community based programs. It reflects our high level of NAEYC accreditation and speaks to the need for EEC to develop a QRIS tool that accurately measures the high quality services being delivered daily.
Massachusetts will soon have a new Governor and Lieutenant Governor. We look forward to working with Governor-elect Baker and Lieutenant Governor-elect Polito on our shared goal of providing high quality early education and after school programming for the children of the Commonwealth.
In order to be prepared to assume office in January, the Governor-elect has created a transition committee to look at the issues awaiting the new Administration and make recommendations. Among his selections to this important committee are three MADCA members. We congratulate Edward Madaus from the Guild of St. Agnes of Worcester County, Karen Frederick of Community Team Work of Lowell and Mark Culliton of College Bound of Dorchester on their appointments to the Committee and wish them well.
MADCA is pleased to present the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award to leading early childhood education and care advocate Mary Reed. Please read the Press Release for more information about this amazing woman!
Once again, MADCA is sponsoring a 2-day conference for managers and administrators of Early Childhood Education programs on May 5-6 at the Westford Regency Conference Center in Westford, MA. This year promises to be the best one yet, with a variety of workshops including those on bringing your program into the cyber world, forming leaders throughout your program and making vision-focused program improvements. We are also honored to have Rhian Evans Allvin, Executive Director, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) to be with us at the Dinner on Monday evening and the keynote speaker on Tuesday morning. Joining Ms. Evans Allvin on Monday will be Commissioner Tom Weber who will present awards to outstanding educators and legislators in the field of Early Education and School Age programs. REGISTER TODAY!
On Monday, May 5th MADCA is pleased to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Mary Reed. Mary is the founder of the Bessie Tartt Wilson Initiative (BTWIC), formerly Bessie Tartt Wilson Children’s Foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2002. BTWIC works to strengthen early education and care for children through research, policy development, communication, and advocacy. They focus on the neediest families- those for whom poverty and other factors put their children in jeopardy of physical, social, cognitive, and other developmental delays. Their work leads to systemic change by focusing on critical policy issues that impact the early education experiences of children throughout the Commonwealth.
On Wednesday, November 20th, MADCA will have their fall Full Membership meeting at the Westford Regency Inn and Conference Center, 219 Littleton Road, Westford, MA. In addition to Agency updates including the FY14 and FY15 state budget, we will hear about the important work being accomplished at the EEC Commission. The meeting will be from 12 until 2 with lunch being served at noon. Agenda items include updates about EEC, the FY 2014 budget implementation, and other MADCA news.
We are grateful to TANGO (The Alliance for Non-Profit Growth and Opportunity) who is sponsoring this meeting. Representatives from Schuster Driscoll LLC will give a presentation and answer questions about the effects of “Obamacare” on private agencies. We look forward to hearing their presentation as well as having a chance to meet with other MADCA members.
Milton Friedman once said, “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” It seems this quote is very appropriate for the new special commission which has recently been formed to study the Department of Early Education and Care.
As directed by Section 166 in the Massachusetts FY’14 budget, a special commission was formed to “make and investigation and study of the cost of administering EEC services in the commonwealth and make recommendations to enhance said services where appropriate and necessary.” Among the 19 people on this ommission, we are happy to report that MADCA’s Executive Director, Bill Eddy is on this commission representing MADCA members. Clare Higgins, a MADCA Board member is also on the Commission representing a Provider of Early Education and Care.
Since the Commission’s report is due to the Legislature on December 31, 2013, the members have a rigorous meeting schedule to meet this timeline. We look forward to hearing from the Commission about what they learn about expanding affordable access to child care, timely placement of children in quality programs and finding cost savings.
We are happy that MADCA is an important part of this commission, and look forward to good things to come as a result.
After months of hard work communicating with State Legislators, MADCA is pleased to report new funding has been appropriated to the Department of Early Education and Care for fiscal year 2014. In addition to maintaining funding for Universal preschool, early educator scholarships and increased funding for Head Start programs, the new budget provides $15 Million to decrease the waiting list. This roughly translates to 2200 new slots for income eligible children, which should help reduce the waiting list immensely. In addition, a modest increase in salaries for early educators has been included in the $11.5 Millions being invested by the Commonwealth for this purpose in FY 2014.