Earlier today, House Labor & Workforce Chairman John Scibak issued an Early Education Priority letter to House Members urging them to sign onto the below-copied letter. Please reach out to your Massachusetts State Representative(s) today and ask them to make the Early Education Workforce a priority by signing on! Interested House members may contact Joe Beebe in Chairman Scibak’s office at (617) 722-2030.
For a list of MA State Legislators, their districts, and their contact information, visit www.putmakidsfirst.org/contact-ma-legislators, or click the button to the left.
House Speaker Robert DeLeo
State House, Room 356
Chairman Brian Dempsey
House Ways & Means
State House, Room 243
Dear Mr. Speaker, Chairman Dempsey:
As we head towards 2016 and the FY ’17 budget process, we are respectfully writing to request that the House once again prioritize the Early Education & Care System. We greatly appreciate your leadership and your willingness to make early education a priority last year. As a multi-year commitment is needed, we encourage you to keep early education as a top priority again this year, specifically addressing the need to adequately compensate the early education workforce.
The Early Education Workforce is in crisis. The inability of programs to attract and retain degree credentialed early educators is hindering access for children and diminishing quality. In Massachusetts, the average Early Educator earns $25,500 or $12.25 an hour. These chronic low salaries are forcing our best Early Educators to leave the field. This comes at a time when providers, the Department of Early Education & Care and this Legislature have all worked together to strengthen quality standards and curriculum in order to improve long term educational outcomes for children.
Early Educators are leaving this field at a 30% turnover rate, three times more than the average for any other Massachusetts vocation. Additionally over a third of Massachusetts’ early educators rely on federal or state aid benefits to survive. At the recent State Board of Early Education meeting, dozens of teachers testified about the financial challenges they confront working in this field – one spoke passionately about the sadness she experienced having to leave teaching to make more money working at McDonalds.
Recognizing the scope of this crisis, the Board of Early Education voted an FY ’17 Budget Request that specifically seeks no increase in access to early education in order to prioritize the need for a $31.1 Million Rate Increase to address the early education workforce
The Board of Early Education believes and recognizes, in order to promote quality early education, that we must first prioritize investment in the early education workforce through enhanced rates of reimbursement. We join the Board of Early Education in that belief and respectfully urge, prior to any expansion of the early education system, a prioritized investment in our early education workforce.
We thank you for your consideration and look forward to working with you on this important matter during the FY ’17 House budget deliberations.