We stand up for a Massachusetts where everyone gets a fair shot, does and pays their fair share, and plays by the same rules.
Investment in early education brings real progress, as lawmakers protected early education funds despite budget gap
The budget, passed out of the conference committee today, included critical investments in early education: a $12.5 million investment (1599-0042) in increased compensation for early educators and a $2 million boost to a program (3000-1020) to help early education providers increase and maintain their level of quality.
On the negative side, money available for cities and towns to expand all-day kindergarten has been cut.
With this budget, state lawmakers have shown us that they understand just how important early education is. Even while facing a significant budget gap, we are making real progress.
Massachusetts should lead on education, but when it comes to early education we have been lagging. For years, Massachusetts’ funding for early education and care has not kept pace with inflation, resulting in a reduction of more than $100 million. It’s a welcome sign to see that trend turn around.
Studies establish the necessity of quality in order to see long-term positive impacts in early education, but declining budgets have undermined quality. We’re struggling to keep dedicated and highly skilled educators in the field, and face a 30% turnover rate. Stabilizing the workforce is the best way we can help more children get a strong start. The investment of $12.5 million in educators is evidence that our state’s leaders understand that.
More work needs to be done to make sure every child in Massachusetts gets the same strong start. But today, we celebrate progress as leaders came together to support early education. If we want a system that works in Massachusetts, we need a system that regular working families can afford and that can pay enough to keep teachers in the classrooms in order to meet high standards for quality. These investments bring us closer.