Menu of policy recommendations in Kids First Report
In the first phase of the Kids First program in the Massachusetts Senate, Senate leaders presented a list of policy recommendations. We’ve summed them up here.
“Kids First proposes a comprehensive strategy to support our families, educators, and community leaders while building the strong and resilient children the Commonwealth wants, and more importantly needs for its future success.”
- Eliminate the wait list for income eligible early childhood education for those who are aged birth to five. Estimates vary, but in 2014 the state’s Department of Early Education and Care put that number at around 28,000 Massachusetts children. It would cost approximately $327 million to remedy.
- Calls for adequate funding in the annual budget, noting the need to provide appropriate resources for early education and care administration, the afterschool provider network, child transportation rates, and provider rates.
- Expand the Chapter 70 Formula to cover all education services from 2 years and 9 months up, using a mixed delivery model. (Chapter 70 formula is used to provide state funding to school districts to make up for inequities in funding solely through property taxes).
- Provide incentives for school districts, private early education providers and community based organizations to collaborate under Preschool Expansion Grants. In 2015 Massachusetts applied for $60 million and was awarded $15 million.
- Make summer and afterschool programs accessible to low and middle income families, and ensure access to high quality after and out of school programs.
- Raise rate of reimbursement for subsidized child care to the 75th market percentile. Increasing these rates is a critical way to ensure that educators are paid enough to stay in the field.
- Incentivize early educators advancement by developing a funding structure tied to a quality rating system.
- In schools with achievement gaps, foster ongoing educator development with data driven instruction.
- Create a grant program for qualified districts to pilot intensive mentoring for teachers in their first three years. In other areas of the country mentoring costs about $1,300 per teacher.
- Fund deficits to programs pertaining to special education, English language learners, educator health care and low income students.
- Create funding to implement Safe and Supportive School plans.
- Increase intergovernmental information sharing to ensure that all programs Massachusetts offers can be accessed easily.
- Pass “Paid Family and Medical Leave” act, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit.
Cody Diehl contributed to this blog.