Springfield Elected Officials, Providers Gather to Discuss Challenges in Early Education and Childcare
Parents and educators cite near-poverty wages and affordable childcare waitlists as significant barriers the Commonwealth must address
SPRINGFIELD, MA – Local elected officials and community leaders will join educators at the Springfield City Library Monday for a roundtable discussion on early childhood education. The 6:30pm gathering will address a host of barriers in delivering quality, affordable early education and childcare for Western Massachusetts families – and comes as the State Department of Early Education & Care meets with providers to negotiate new terms and policies for home-based early education.
Studies consistently show that early learning opportunities for infants and toddlers greatly influence academic and economic success for years to come. And for many parents, the ability to find dependable care plays a significant role in their ability to enter or remain in the workforce. Yet more than 24,000 children remain on a waitlist for affordable childcare throughout the Commonwealth – including over 1,500 in Springfield and bordering communities alone. At the same time, early childhood educators have seen state payments languish at near-poverty levels, forcing many of the best and brightest to leave the field altogether.
WHAT: Roundtable discussion on barriers to quality, affordable early education and childcare in Western Massachusetts
WHO: Early Childhood Educators and Parents
Senator Jim Welch, Representatives José Tosado and Carlos Gonzalez
Council President Mike Fenton, Vice President Orlando Ramos
Councilors Melvin Edwards, Adam Gomez, Justin Hurst, Bud Williams and Marcus Williams
WHEN: Monday, March 21 at 6:30PM
WHERE: Springfield City Library
220 State Street – Springfield, MA
To speak with participating providers and parents, contact Jason A Stephany at (617) 286-4430 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
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SEIU Local 509 represents more than 19,000 human service workers and educators throughout the commonwealth, including more than 3,400 family childcare providers and early childhood educators. SEIU 509 members provide a variety of social services to elders, at-risk children and people with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities — as well as educational opportunities from early learning to higher education. Local 509 is part of the Service Employees International Union, the fastest-growing labor union in the United States. For more information, visit http://seiu509.org.