powerless children need powerful friends

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Published on December 28, 2007

Author: Talya

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Powerless Children Need Powerful Friends:  Powerless Children Need Powerful Friends RIDE Winter Leadership Conference February 9, 2007 Moving Early Education to the Top of the Policy Agenda (2000):  Moving Early Education to the Top of the Policy Agenda (2000) Our Youngest Children: Massachusetts Voters and Opinion Leaders Speak Out on Their Care and Education Two statewide voter polls (400 voters each) 48 opinion leader interviews: business, government, organized labor, media, religion, education and child care Our Youngest Children: Key Findings :  Our Youngest Children: Key Findings Voters and opinion leaders are more willing to support government funding for “early childhood education” rather than “child care” if it is: Child-focused; For ages three, four and five; and Identifiably connected to long-term educational benefits. Early Education for All Campaign Vision:  Early Education for All Campaign Vision To improve the well-being of Massachusetts children and families by ensuring that all children (0-14) have access to high quality early education and care, by first building on the identified strong public and political support to expand investments in high-quality early education for children ages three, four and five. Early Education for All Campaign Goals:  Early Education for All Campaign Goals Ensure that every preschool-aged child has access to a high-quality early childhood education delivered through the mixed system of public and private providers; Improve the training, education and compensation of the early childhood and school-age workforce; and Provide access to full school-day public kindergarten for all children. Early Education for All Campaign Strategies:  Early Education for All Campaign Strategies Engage influential “unlikely” allies. Build alignment among “likely” allies: - Develop state legislative policy proposal/s that are informed by families and the early education field. - Develop and mobilize statewide grassroots’ field team. Use research to inform policy proposal/s and messaging. Implement statewide media campaign. Develop independent advocacy organization. Who is Educating and Caring for Massachusetts Preschoolers?:  Who is Educating and Caring for Massachusetts Preschoolers? Source: Securing our Future, Future Trends, Massachusetts Department of Education, 2001 Early Education for All Campaign Guiding Principles:  Early Education for All Campaign Guiding Principles Early education in Massachusetts should be: Universally accessible for 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds with a vision to meet the needs of all children (0-14). Voluntary for participation by children, families and providers. Flexible enough to meet the diverse needs of children and families. Delivered through the existing mix of public and private programs (e.g., family child care, non-profit and for-profit centers, Head Start and public and private schools). Defined by a universal program standard that promotes healthy emotional, social, physical and cognitive outcomes for children. Designed and funded to recruit, train, and retain qualified staff. Built on current program and system strengths. Phased-in incrementally. Strategy: Engage unlikely allies. EEA Campaign Advisory Committee :  Strategy: Engage unlikely allies. EEA Campaign Advisory Committee Associated Early Care and Education Associated Industries of MA AvCar Group, Ltd. Barr Foundation Berkshire Chamber of Commerce Boston Children’s Museum Boston Foundation Boston TenPoint Coalition Bright Horizons Family Solutions, Inc. Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston Early Childhood Centers of Greater Springfield EMC Corporation Family Child Care Project Genzyme Genetics Grain Pro, Inc. Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation MA AFL-CIO MA Association for the Education of Young Children MA Association of Day Care Agencies MA Association of School Superintendents MA Biotechnology Council MA Board of Higher Education MA Business Alliance for Education MA Business Roundtable MA Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics MA Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies Network MA Education Initiative for Latino Students MA Elementary School Principals’ Association MA Federation of Teachers MA Head Start Association MA High Technology Council MA Teachers Association MassMutual Financial Group Middlesex Community College Parents Alliance for Catholic Education Schott Foundation for Public Education Springfield Day Nursery Staples, Inc. The O’Brien Group, Inc. UAW Local 2322 Verizon Communications, Inc. Wheelock College YMCAs of Massachusetts Strategy: Build alignment among “likely” allies. Develop state-wide grassroots field :  Strategy: Build alignment among “likely” allies. Develop state-wide grassroots field Strategy: Use research to inform policy proposal/s.:  Strategy: Use research to inform policy proposal/s. Produce: Fact Sheets, Policy Briefs and Research in Briefs Catalyze research: Workforce Study (Wellesley 2005) Higher Education Capacity Study (Wellesley 2005) Commission studies: Statewide Parent “Demand” Survey (2006) Cost of Universal, High-Quality Early Ed. in MA (2006) Progress to date::  Progress to date: Strong public support - EEA and related policy work have been the subject of 73 newspaper editorials – 73 positive and four negative. Strong voter support - Poll conducted in late 2003 showed extremely high support for Early Education for All across the spectrum of Massachusetts voters. Creation of first-in-the-nation Board and consolidated Department of Early Education and Care (FY05 Budget). Department and Board of Early Education and Care:  Department and Board of Early Education and Care Board of Early Education and Care (appointed by the Governor): Health and Human Services Secretary Judy Ann Bigby, who chairs the Board; Department of Education Commissioner David Driscoll; Board of Higher Education Chancellor Patricia Plummer; Ben Russell, a Boston Public School Kindergarten teacher; Parent, Mary Torrence; Linda Mason, chair and founder of Bright Horizons Family Solutions; Julie Culhane, director of Early Childhood Programs for the Hampshire Regional School District; and Department of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Elizabeth Childs Business Community Representative (seat vacant) Commissioner – Ann Reale, (appointed by the Board) Progress to date::  Progress to date: Significant increase in public funding for high-quality early education through the state budget $20 million in FY06 $45 million in FY07 $4.6 million for pilot projects as part of the new Massachusetts Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program $3 Million for Early Educators Scholarship Program $2 million increase for full-day Kindergarten grants Increases in funding for early education and care subsidies, rates and Head Start Funding and mandates to develop core competencies and quality rating system Unanimous enactment by House and Senate of legislation (H.4755) creating the Massachusetts Universal Pre-K Program (2006) Produced Comprehensive Report on Cost of Universal, High-Quality Early Education in MA (October 2006) MA UPK Pilot – FY’07 Budget Line Item (3000-5075) July 2006 :  MA UPK Pilot – FY’07 Budget Line Item (3000-5075) July 2006 Pilot implementation grants to provide programs and services to children aged 2 yrs, 9 mos. through kindergarten eligibility. Through a mixed system. EEC shall, in consultation with SFC/EEA, estimate cost of funding a pre-school classroom that meets Program Standards and Guidelines. Grants shall be awarded by December BEEC meeting. Preference may be given to establishing classrooms in towns and cities with schools and districts at risk of or determined to be “under-performing.” EEC to report on implementation of grants by February 15, 2007 along with legislative recommendations for improvement. MA UPK Pilot –Progress (February 2007):  MA UPK Pilot –Progress (February 2007) Cost report completed – October 2006 MA UPK pilot process – Department of Early Education and Care RFI posted – November 3, 2006 RFI due – November 13, 2006 EEC Board votes on RFR criteria – January 9, 2007 RFR posted – January 16, 2007 RFR due – February 9, 2007 MA UPK Awards posted –March 16, 2007 RFR available at www.eec.state.ma.us EEC MA UPK Pilot Criteria:  EEC MA UPK Pilot Criteria Eligible programs must meet all of the following criteria at each site for which they are applying: Be serving or willing to serve EEC subsidized children. Be providing or directly connected to a provider of full-day, full-year care for working families. Be providing a minimum number of hours of a developmentally appropriate program, as evidenced by use of: Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences and Early Childhood Program Standards; and One of four EEC-approved assessment tools, for at least a year prior to grant award. Have access to a qualified professional to ensure appropriate administration of a developmentally appropriate program. Meet two out of three additional quality criteria: EEC Licensed or License-Exempt. NEAYC accreditation for group child care programs and CDA or NAFCC for family child care. Provider has bachelor’s degree (BA/BS in any subject, with specialized training in early education). What Do We Want to Learn From the UPK Pilot?:  What Do We Want to Learn From the UPK Pilot? How many programs apply and are eligible? What are the barriers? What works best relative to: (a) funding mechanism – grant, contract, voucher or hybrid; (b) program structure – hours per day, days per week, days per year; (c) geographic distribution? How are various types of programs blending UPK and other funding streams? Can we derive best practices for future use by programs? How are programs using the UPK funds they receive? Early Education for All Campaign Next Steps:  Early Education for All Campaign Next Steps Ensure early education is a priority for Governor Patrick. Secure passage of An Act Relative to Early Education and Care which establishes the MA Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program. Help ensure success of Department of EEC and pilot program. Advocate for expanded funding – beginning with $100 million in FY08 - to fulfill the promise of universal high-quality early education by 2012. Lessons learned (so far): :  Lessons learned (so far): Powerless children need powerful friends. Engage “likely” allies in policy formulation and political strategy. Develop “independent” organization to convene and sustain engagement of stakeholders. Use research to inform policy development and to raise public awareness. Don’t fight in public. Change is incremental. Pick the right legislative champions. Communicate constantly and carefully. Transparency is essential. Stay child-centered and keep your eye on the prize. Let’s Invest When It Makes the Most Difference:  Let’s Invest When It Makes the Most Difference Visit www.earlyeducationforall.org for more information.

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