What Do Massachusetts Political Candidates Say About Early Childhood Education On Their Official Campaign Websites?
A politician’s campaign website highlights the their positions on issues they most care. It can be a window into what their priorities will be if they get elected. In this post, I will look at campaign websites of major political figures in Massachusetts to see what if anything their websites say about early childhood education and care.
First up is sitting governor Charlie Baker.
Here is his camping website:
Under issues, his website talks about K-12 education and college but has no mention of ECE. This does not mean he does not have any ECE policies, but the fact that nothing is highlighted on his website is telling.
Baker’s Democratic opponent is Jay Gonzalez. On his issues page, there is a separate section for early childhood education. Here is the opening of this section “High-quality early education and childcare is one of the most impactful, cost-effective investments that we can make in our children and in our Commonwealth. These early investments in our children pay dividends on multiple levels and across generations. Working families deserve our best efforts to support their children getting the start they need toward academic and career success and to support their own workforce participation and economic prosperity. These families and children deserve better access and more affordable options, the most talented teachers and caregivers, the most engaging curriculum, and the most robust family engagement supports we can provide.” You can find the rest of his position on ECE here: https://jay4ma.com/early-education-2/
Moving to the senate, incumbent candidate senator Elizabeth Warren has a few paragraphs ECE and child care in her education issue page. She states “I still remember how hard it was to find child care for my two-year-old daughter when I was starting law school. I know firsthand that finding quality, affordable child care is often a major roadblock standing in the way of parents trying to get and keep good jobs and provide for their young families.
America is experiencing a child care crisis. Over the past generation, the cost of child care has jumped nearly 1,000 percent. Middle-class families often find that quality child care is as expensive as college tuition. We need to lift that financial burden and put child care within reach of every working family. That’s why I worked hard to successfully double federal child care investments in the 2018 federal budget.
Just as we need to provide every parent with help balancing work and family, we also need to provide every child with early education. The research is clear: Meaningful investments in early education and preschool pay off for children and for our communities. That’s why I worked with a bipartisan coalition to support early literacy programs. And it’s why we must commit to universal preschool so we can give every child in America a fair shot at success from day one.” You can find the rest of her education positions here: https://elizabethwarren.com/issues/education/
Warren’s Republican challenger is Geoff Diehl. Diehl does not mention early childhood education or education at all in the issues section of his campaign website. https://diehlforsenate.com/issues/
Massachusetts rising political star is Ayanna Pressley ever since she won the democratic primary for Massachusetts 7th congressional district after years of service in the Boston City Council. I’ve seen Ayanna Pressley speak at a few ECE events over the years and she has been a passionate ECE advocate. It is thus no surprise that she lists many ECE policy positions on her website including
- “Expand resources to support maternal and child health. Children’s healthy development begins even before they are born and accelerates in the early years of life. In order to set young children on a path to succeed in school and in life, we need policies that support mother prior to and immediately after birth. I have called for the passage of the MOMMA Act, which would establish standardized obstetric care protocols, better data collection systems, and would extend Medicaid coverage for new moms up to one year after giving birth. I also believe we need to increase funding for programs like the Maternal, Infant and Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), and expand access to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
- Increase funding for Head Start and Early Head Start. Head Start, and Early Head Start, are the largest federal programs aimed at providing early education opportunities for 3- and 4-year-olds from low-income families. Head Start provides grants to local educational agencies and oversees the operations of agencies providing Head Start services. Head Start and Early Head Start funding received a significant increase in funding under the FY2018 omnibus spending legislation, but available programs are still only able to cover a fraction of eligible children. In Congress, I would fight for increased funding for Head Start and Early Head Start in FY19 and beyond, in order to ensure access for low-income families across the 7th District.
- Support comprehensive data collection on early educator wages, benefits, educational levels, and turnover. Early educators play a critical role in preparing young children to succeed throughout elementary school and closing persistent achievement gaps. However, persistently low wages and lack of opportunity for professional development lead to high turnover in the early education workforce, especially among educators with a college degree (many of whom have accrued student debt). In order to address these challenges, policymakers need up-to-date information on the wages, benefits, and other characteristics of early educators in different settings, including center-based staff and home care providers. In Congress, I would sponsor legislation to establish a consistent framework for collecting and disseminating staff information from early education and care providers.” https://ayannapressley.com/issues/equity-agenda/
Pressley does not have a republican challenger.
Katherine Clark who is the incumbent in Massachusetts 5th congressional race is another politician who I have heard speak frequently at ECE events. On her website she goes over her accomplishments related to ECE as well as her positions. “I believe that investments in early education are critical to basic economic fairness in America. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that young children experience astonishing brain growth, forming more neural pathways from birth to age five than at any other stage in their lives. Taking advantage of this phase pays serious dividends, not just individually in the short term, but economically in the long term. Studies have consistently shown that each dollar invested in quality preschool yields a return of roughly $7 over the life of a child.
That is why I have helped lead the charge to protect and expand vital early education resources. In March, I led nearly one fourth of the entire House of Representatives in formally urging House Appropriators to provide adequate funding for the Child Care and Development Block Grant, IDEA Act Preschool grants, and Infants and Families grants. These programs are critical to America’s early learners and I will continue to fight to ensure their success.
In addition, I am a cosponsor of H.R. 3461, the Strong Start for America’s Children Act. This legislation ensures that every American four-year-old whose family earns less than 200% of the federal poverty level is able to access high quality pre-kindergarten. This levels the playing field for children whose families cannot afford critical early education programs. This legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where it is awaiting further action.”
Congresswomen Clark is being challenged by Republican John Hugo. Hugo does not mention education on his website.