We stand up for a Massachusetts where everyone gets a fair shot, does and pays their fair share, and plays by the same rules.
As the Massachusetts State budget comes closer to being set in stone, early education professionals and the legislators that support them held a rally to support early education in the state budget.
The event, sponsored by MADCA, the Massachusetts Head Start Association and the Alliance of Massachusetts YMCAs, and backed by Put Massachusetts Kids First (a statewide coalition in support of early education), featured State Senators Sonia Chang Diaz and Sal DiDomenico, as well as Commissioner of the Department of Early Education Tom Weber.
Attending the rally were hundreds of early educators who then went into the statehouse for lobby visits in support of three budget amendments: $5 Million Rate Reserve (#1003), Using Surplus budget money to invest early educators (#944) and Head Start funding (#770) . Attendees were also asking Senators to support $36.4 Million Rate Reserve for workforce & program quality as they take up the budget in the Senate.
Also speaking was Jesse Mermell, the President of the Alliance for the Business Leadership, who highlighted the fact that improving early education is good for business and the economy — both in the short term and right now.
Commissioner Weber raised the point that the research, science, and economics are all there to support early education, but too little of our legislators are willing to make the critical investment into early education.
Sen. DiDomenico spoke directly about the influence which Head Start programs have had on his life, being the product of a Head Start education 41 years ago. He also mentioned the Senate’s Kids First committee will present their findings on May 2. Sen. Chang Diaz spoke about how critical investment into early education is, and how it returns $17 for every dollar invested.
The rally ended with former Chair of the Education Committee, Marie St. Fleur, who brought together the crowd of early educators before they made their way for the state house. St. Fleur said that the early educators need to stand together, and that they cannot be divided on this issue.