Early education and care has a new local champion, the Massachusetts Business Coalition for Early Childhood Education.
Launched this week by 70 Massachusetts CEOs and business leaders, the coalition is, as its website explains, “responding to overwhelming data and research showing a long-standing child care sector crisis, now being exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The coalition’s goal is to “to make early childhood education more accessible, affordable, and stable for Massachusetts workers, more rewarding for early childhood professionals, and a point of differentiation in attracting and retaining a strong workforce across the Commonwealth.”
Specifically, the coalition will:
• advocate for state and federal government policies and programs to support “the early childhood education needs of the Massachusetts workforce”
• identify opportunities for strategic action and investments in improving access and affordability as well as program quality and stability
• explore best practices for supporting the early education and care needs of employees, and
• acknowledge that communities of color and working women disproportionately face the impact of poor access to child care and low program quality — and support efforts to advance equitable child care solutions
Underscoring the business case for making this progress, Jon Bernstein, one of five of the coalition’s co-chairs as well as the regional president of Boston for PNC Bank, said in a press release, “Quality child care and early learning programs are fundamental to the success of our local economy.”
Roger Crandall, a coalition co-chair and the chairman, president, and CEO of MassMutual, adds, “Investing in early childhood education provides a massive return on investment and generates societal and economic benefits for years to come. Even more importantly, it addresses a fundamental inequality in our current system. By making sure all young children have access to quality early childhood education, we can stop achievement gaps before they start, while also having positive effects throughout the economy.”
The coalition’s new executive director is Tom Weber, former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
The data that will inform the coalition’s work includes:
To learn more, follow the coalition on Twitter – @MassBiz4EarlyEd. Or follow along on LinkedIn. And please share the coalition’s posts with your social media networks.
Broad support for early education and care is essential. As Bridget Long, a coalition co-chair and dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, says:
“We know children who receive high-quality early childhood education reap the benefits into adulthood and throughout life. This is because those benefits are delivered at the most critical stages of brain development. For the sake of our youngest learners and their families, as well as the future of the Commonwealth, we must ensure access to high-quality early childhood education for all.”