Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children

Last month, the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) released its “Annual Legislative Report for 2013.”

Mandated by state law, the report is a useful and detailed resource for early education providers and advocates as well as legislators who want to know more about EEC’s goals and operations.

Created in 2005, EEC is the first “early education and care-focused department of its kind in the nation,” as the report explains. It combines parts of the former Department of Education (now the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) and parts of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

The report outlines EEC’s five strategic directions, which are:

– “Create and implement a system to improve and support quality statewide.”

– “Increase and promote family support, access and affordability.”

– “Create a workforce system that maintains worker diversity,” provides professional support, and produces strong outcomes for children.

– “Create and implement an external and internal communications strategy” that conveys the value of early education and care, and

– “Build the internal infrastructure” required to achieve this vision.

The report provides more details in four areas:

– Operational Improvements

– A Budget Overview

– The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge Grant, and

– Ongoing Educator and Program Quality Initiatives

Highlights

The Income Eligible waitlist maintained by EEC is currently at 40,518 children birth-to-school age, including more than 24,000 infants, toddlers and preschool-age children. Appendix D of the report features data tables that break down the waitlist by age for each month of 2013, as well as by the ten “ESE Commissioner’s District” cities, and by priority code (i.e. foster care, homeless family, special needs).

EEC’s report on its Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) notes that, “Approximately 5,700 programs/providers are participating in QRIS, representing half of our licensed programs. Additionally, we have 325 public school programs (license-exempt) also participating in QRIS.”

And explaining the state’s progress on using the Massachusetts Kindergarten Entry Assessment, the report says, “As of December 2013, there are seventy-seven school districts participating in MKEA, which represents a 74% increase from 2012.”

The report also highlights EEC’s partnership with the Boston Children’s Museum to “engage with over one hundred libraries and museums across the commonwealth to provide family engagement activities and early learning opportunities.”

To learn more, download the report, which is available here.