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 budget inches closer to becoming finalized, it is clear to see the political climate around early education in Massachusetts has shifted.
In this year’s budget the House Ways and Means committee originally allocated $15 million toward a rate reserve that is designed to give our early educators a better wage. As of today the Massachusetts legislation has successfully raised this to $20 million, after the House passed an amendment to up the amount, put forward by Chairwoman of the Education committee Alice Peisch (Wellesley).
This increase amounts to a 5.88% salary increase for the early educators of Massachusetts, which will help to stabilize the field, that was described by the Speaker of the House as being in “crisis”.
More than one third of our early educators in Massachusetts are living on government assistance, at a wage that hovers just above the poverty line. This has forced nearly one quarter educators to leave the field since 2011. Massachusetts should lead on early education, but we’ve seen years of moving backward.
It’s a relief that the leadership in the House for addressing these concerns and making early education a priority. We hope that the focus on early education from the leadership is a signal to other legislative leaders of the importance for Massachusetts to take action and support early education, including Speaker Robert DeLeo and Gov. Charlie Baker.
It is encouraging to see that the leadership in the Massachusetts Legislature has focused on early education this session. We know we can’t stop here — there is still plenty to be done to stabilize the field and ensure that all Massachusetts children have access to affordable high quality childcare. We hope that the legislation moving forward continues to place emphasis on early education, and make sure that every child has the chance to start kindergarten ready.