Click into link to see current job postings:
Click on link below to view the July 2017 Newsletter:
July 2017 Newsletter
Click on link below to view our April 2017 Newsletter:
State House Speaker Robert DeLeo.
Putting Early Education Front and Center in Mass.
By Shirley Leung GLOBE C OLUMN I S T J UN E 03, 201 6
House Speaker Bob DeLeo is done talking about the value of preschool
education. It’s time to get it right in Massachusetts.
This week DeLeo began meeting with a group of business leaders to develop a
plan on how the state could increase not only access to early education but
turned into legislation or new programs by the next budget cycle.
More than expanding charter schools, reforming preschool could be one of the
most important education initiatives for the Commonwealth in decades. Study after study indicates that kids who are schooled at an early age graduate from
high school and college at higher rates than those who do not. They are also
less likely to abuse drugs, end up in jail, or rely on public assistance.
Yet in the fight for scarce public dollars, early education has been low on the
priority list, overshadowed by the needs in K12 and public colleges.
“We’re so worried about kindergarten and up, but we’re really not setting
forth the foundation for education,” DeLeo told me in an interview
Wednesday at his State House office. “In talking it through, I found that we
really weren’t paying enough attention to early education.”
Even though Massachusetts was the first state to create a department of early
education in 2005, rolling out universal preschool has been more complicated
than anyone thought. Of the nearly 225,000 children who are between 3 and 5
years old in Massachusetts, about 30 percent remain unschooled, according to
advocacy group Strategies for Children.
Of those in a preschool, only a quarter are in a publicly financed program.
That means, by and large, kids in preschool are from families who can foot the
bill at a private center, which at an average cost of $12,800 a year is the most expensive in the country.
DeLeo sought out the business community, knowing they would get it. Good
preschools are an investment in the future workforce, and give working
parents peace of mind. What he didn’t expect was the response.
“The enthusiasm, I have to tell you, was surprising to me,” DeLeo said.
Business leaders “felt they were missing out on an opportunity to correct
Executives have been out front on lifting the state cap on charter schools,
pushing for more math and science courses, and creating workforce
development partnerships at community colleges. Early education — which
encompasses programs and schooling for kids 0 to 5 — hasn’t been high on
“My experience is that early education and care have been important to the
business community, but it hasn’t ever been anyone’s No. 1 issue,” said JD
Chesloff, executive director of the Massachusetts Business Roundtable. “It
takes leadership and a champion.”
That’s where DeLeo and Jay Gonzalez come in. Chesloff’s group began taking
a closer look at the issue earlier this year at the urging of Gonzalez, chief
executive of CeltiCare Health and a former administration and finance
secretary under Deval Patrick. After Gonzalez went into the private sector,
Patrick appointed him chair of the state board of early education and care.
Gonazlez served only a year before Governor Charlie Baker appointed a new
chair, but Gonzalez’s time on the board made a lasting impression.
“This has become my favorite issue,” said Gonzalez, who is a member of the
roundtable. “This is the most formative point in the person’s life — 90 percent
of brain development happens before age 5 — yet it’s a time in the life when
we as society are doing the least.”
After reading studies on how early education can close the achievement gap
and increase chances of success in careers and quality of life,the roundtable’s
board voted in March to make early education one of its issues.
The roundtable was among more than a dozen business groups, including the
Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and
the Alliance for Business Leadership, that gathered Wednesday in DeLeo’s office to
strategize about early education.
DeLeo himself got interested in the topic two years ago, intrigued by similar studies
that had caught the eye of roundtable members.
“The one that really got to me was the fact of lower incarceration rates,” said
DeLeo. A study that has been following lowincome
children in Chicago for two decades found that those who attended preschool and fullday kindergarten experienced a 22 percent reduction in felony arrests and 28 percent reduction in jail time.
The speaker decided he wanted early education to be one his priorities this
year, and has already included an extra$10 million in the House budget to
improve programming and help boost the salaries of preschool teachers.
All the buzz about early education has been focused on the concept of
preschool for all. DeLeo wants to refocus the idea on quality, which hinges on
retaining teachers. Early education primarily consists of private sector and
nonprofit providers, and public subsidies are directed to these centers so lowincome
children can enroll.
Early education teachers are paid on average about $25,000 a year, while
public school teachers earn a starting salary of roughly $45,000, which
explains why the annual turnover rate among early educators is about 30
“You can have worldclass standards, you can have a worldclass
curriculum, but you want to make sure you have the strongest workforce possible,” said
Tom Weber, the state commissioner of early education and care. “The early
education workforce is the delivery system.”
Weber tells me the state has learned a lot in the decade since it created a
department of early education. A better preschool system will be about getting
providers to increase wages for early educators, while trying to build scale so
more children have access.
It won’t be easy, but at least everyone knows what’s at stake. It’s an important
moment for early education in the Commonwealth, which makes DeLeo and
the business community’s timing impeccable.
WCEC Receives Grant from the George I. Alden Trust
Worcester, MA – – January 25, 2016 — Worcester Comprehensive Education & Care (WCEC) receives a $15,000 unrestricted grant from the George I. Alden Trust in appreciation of the important early education and care services it provides to the families in the Worcester Community.
For the past 45 years WCEC has provided outstanding nationally accredited early education and care programs and supportive services to children and families in the City of Worcester. What we do to enhance the services to this community and make it a better place for the children we serve is made possible through the philanthropic generosity of the George I. Alden Trust and individuals like you.
WCEC Receives Grant from GWCF
Worcester, MA – – December 1, 2015 — Worcester Comprehensive Education & Care (WCEC) receives a grant of $10,000 from Greater Worcester Community Foundation (GWCF) to improve quality in early education and care in alignment with the Massachusetts’ Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS).
The year 2015 marks WCEC’s 44th year of providing outstanding nationally accredited early education and care programs and supportive services to children and families in the City of Worcester. What we do to enhance the services to this community and make it a better place for the children we serve is made possible by people like you and organizations like the GWCF.
“Your active participation and support helps us to make a difference in the lives of the children and families we serve by enabling us to create and deliver programs and services that are geared to help them succeed in adopting and developing healthy lifelong learning practices, and we are grateful for the GWCF’s continued support and generosity” stated, Jaime (J.) Soto Jr. LSW, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer.