BOSTON – The Common Start Coalition, a diverse group of over 150 organizations leading the campaign on Beacon Hill to address the multi-faceted childcare crisis, responded today to the release of an early education and child care bill from the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Education.
“The Common Start Coalition appreciates the dedicated work of Chairwoman Alice Peisch, Chairman Jason Lewis, and all the committee members. An Act to Expand Access to High-Quality, Affordable Early Education and Care is aligned with Common Start’s principles and solutions. This bill would be a great step forward for Massachusetts,” said Deb Fastino, Statewide Director of the Common Start Coalition and Executive Director of the Coalition for Social Justice. “We look forward to working with the Legislature in the coming weeks to ensure that we adopt and fund the reforms that children, families, educators, providers, and employers desperately need.”
Key provisions of the proposed legislation released today include increasing affordability and accessibility through the child care subsidy system; supporting high quality early education and care through additional stabilization funding opportunities; and prioritizing workforce supports to give all providers in the mixed-delivery system the ability to attract and retain skilled workers.
“Massachusetts is fortieth in the nation in state investment in early childhood education,” said Mark Reilly, Vice President of Policy & Government Relations at Jumpstart. “We need to do better for our children, families, and early educators and this bill will turn the tide. The bill’s emphasis on increasing early educator compensation will also address the shortage of early educators who are essential to support our children and the state’s economy overall. We look forward to working with the Legislature to get this critical bill completed in the coming months.”
The Legislature’s bill, An Act to Expand Access to High-Quality, Affordable Early Education and Care, includes several concrete steps that would be transformative for the Commonwealth’s early education and care system, prioritizing getting care to the children and families most in need of services. Important proposals in the bill include an annual assessment to address barriers to care, expanding subsidy eligibility to more families across the state, and making stabilization funding permanently available to providers.
"The Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children believes that each and every child, beginning at birth, has the opportunity to benefit from high-quality early childhood education, delivered by an effective, diverse, well-prepared, and well-compensated workforce,” said Amanda Storth, Chair of the Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children’s Public Policy Committee. “The Legislature’s bill echoes that commitment as it takes important steps towards addressing the needs of the Commonwealth's youngest learners, their families, and the early childhood education workforce. We want to thank the Joint Committee on Education for their thoughtful work in putting together this legislation."
“As a union that represents family child care providers across Massachusetts, we are excited to see the Education Committee taking significant steps towards addressing our child care crisis,” said Peter MacKinnon, President of SEIU Local 509. “We need a more equitable child care system that can meet the needs of families across the Commonwealth and give providers the working conditions they deserve, and we look forward to working with legislators to ensure that we get there."
“Early Education Programs welcome the Education Committee’s efforts to craft a roadmap for addressing quality early education for the Commonwealth’s children and families” said William J. Eddy, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Association of Early Education & Care. “We applaud the Committee’s decision to prioritize investing in low-income and at-risk children, as well as addressing in this legislation the necessary steps to assist the early education workforce and family affordability.”
“We are encouraged by the collaborative process by which this bill was created - informed by the diverse voices of the people who are doing the work and lessons we have learned through the pandemic,” said Amy O’Leary, Executive Director of Strategies for Children. “We especially appreciate the inclusion of responsive policies like operational grants to be used for educator compensation and credentialing, enhancement of program quality and sustainability, and establishing an early education and care educator scholarship program in legislation.”
“The bill reported out of Committee today represents an important step forward in ensuring that more families in the Commonwealth can access high-quality care and makes a critical commitment to early education and care providers and educators," said Lauren Kennedy, Co-President of Neighborhood Villages. “Notably, the bill makes permanent a highly successful, new approach to infusing public funds into the field of early education and care: operations grants for providers that can be put towards raising wages and making long term investments in program quality. Neighborhood Villages looks forward to continuing to work closely with the legislature, and to build momentum for an early education and care system that is affordable and accessible for all Massachusetts families.”
The Common Start Coalition is a statewide partnership of organizations, providers, parents, early educators and advocates working together to make high-quality early education and child care affordable and accessible to all Massachusetts families. Our goal is to ensure that all families have the care solutions they need and that all children in our Commonwealth have the same, strong start and enter school on a level playing field. We are a diverse coalition including community, faith-based, labor, business, and early education and child care organizations, as well as early educators, parents, individuals, and direct service organizations.
The coalition, established in 2018, includesmore than 150 organizationsacross Massachusetts, and is coordinated by a steering committee made up of the Coalition for Social Justice, Greater Boston Legal Services, the Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA), the MA Association of Early Education and Care (MADCA), the Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children, the Massachusetts Business Roundtable, the MA Commission on the Status of Women, Neighborhood Villages, Progressive Democrats of Massachusetts, SEIU Local 509, and Strategies for Children. The Coalition has six regional chapters across the state and a Spanish-language statewide chapter – each of which include local parents, early educators, providers, and other advocates. More information about the coalition is available atcommonstartma.org.