In an oped for the Boston Globe, Professor Anne Douglass writes the the pending closure of the Early Learning Center at UMass Boston is a part of a larger trend in Massachusetts which is seeing the number of quality early care and education programs in the state decline due to fiscal challenges of running programs that serve a large proportion of families with low annual incomes.
Excerpt: “Teachers in Massachusetts early education centers earn between $22,000 and $25,000 annually, and 37 percent of them receive some form of public assistance to pay for basic necessities such as food, fuel, or shelter. Early education centers experience 30 percent staff turnover each year. It’s hard to maintain a program under those conditions, much less build, expand, and incorporate emerging best practices from the field into a center’s early education curriculum.
“In Massachusetts, it costs more to pay for child care for an infant than one year of in-state tuition at a public university. The costs for early education and preschool are among the highest in the nation. These expenses are out of reach for families with low annual incomes. The state tries to make up the difference by offering child care subsidies. But the subsidies pay less than 50 percent of the market rate for early care and education. That is why compensation for early care and education professionals is so low, and it explains the near impossibility of retaining talent on a long-term basis.”
Read the full oped, “Massachusetts early education programs are in peril,” online at the Boston Globe.