For Immediate Release - March 01, 2011

Report Shows Progress Made Towards Increasing Excellence and Accountability in Early Education and Care and Out-of-School Time

BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care today released its annual report detailing productive efforts of the past year to build a high-quality system to provide school children with the necessary foundation for healthy and positive educational development. Increasing access to high quality early education and care, and out-of-school programs is a key component in the Patrick-Murray Administration's efforts to close achievement gaps and ensure all students are prepared for future success.

"Providing access to high quality instruction and support in the earliest years is our best opportunity to even the field and help all students reach academic proficiency," said Early Education and Care Commissioner Sherri Killins. "Children arrive at Pre-Kindergarten with varying levels of experiences so it is our task to accelerate learning and provide a solid base on which a powerful education is built."

The Department of Early Education and Care has employed science and research to help target subsidies for approximately 56,000 children in 12,000 licensed programs statewide. The Department is acutely focused on efforts to increase the quality of programs and provide better support for educators, both toward the goal of providing all students with the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful throughout their education.

Increasing early literacy rates is a top goal of the Patrick-Murray Administration and a key indicator of future academic attainment. By targeting support and resources to identify and spread best practices, the Department is committed to preparing students for achieving high expectations and assisting families with supporting their children's learning.

The Department recently began implementation of the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) to increase program expectations and accountability, and provide valuable information to families and communities on quality early education and care options. The Department also launched a new Professional Qualifications Registry which now includes real-time information on over 32,500 educators - about half of the workforce - as one of the key elements to support providers and build a Professional Development Data Management System.

Other highlights of the work of the past year detailed in the report include:

  • Targeting state and federal support to assist 56,342 children in December 2010, up from 52,395 in January 2010, and assisting an additional 2,364 children through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act during this same period.
  • Building deeper partnerships with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE), the Department of Higher Education and public campuses, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Housing and Community Development, as well as the continued development of existing partnerships with the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Transitional Assistance.
  • Working with ESE to develop early literacy components of the Massachusetts standards for English Language Arts and Mathematics.

EEC continues to identify the projects that will define its work in the next months and years, including fully implementing the QRIS and establishing a new Statewide Early Childhood Data System.

The Executive Summary of the report is available at pdf format of FY2011 Legislative Report