Chair Lewis, Chair Garlick, and Honorable Members of the Committee:
I am writing to you today on behalf of the Massachusetts Charter Public School Association (MCPSA) to express our support for H.489 and S.301: An Act providing affordable and accessible high quality early education and care to promote child development and well-being and support the economy in the Commonwealth.
MCPSA is a membership organization representing charter public schools all across the Commonwealth. The 70 charter public schools in Massachusetts serve 46,000 students – 74% of whom identify as children of color, 69% of whom are children with high needs, and 57% of whom come from low-income households. As an organization, we are committed to ensuring all Massachusetts children and families have equitable access to a high quality education – starting with the crucial early years of a child’s development.
A child’s educational journey does not begin in Kindergarten; it starts much earlier. High-quality early childhood education significantly contributes to improved academic outcomes throughout a child’s educational trajectory. Research consistently shows that children who have access to quality early childhood education perform better in school, have higher graduation rates, and are more likely to pursue higher education. Every child in Massachusetts, regardless of their families’ socioeconomic status or background, should have access to high-quality early childhood education and care. By providing affordable options and resources for families, the Common Start bill helps ensure that children across the Commonwealth have the opportunity to start their educational journey on an equal footing.
Additionally, as an Association that represents charter public schools across the Commonwealth, we are deeply aware of the importance of early education and care for educators who are also parents and caretakers for children. Excellent educators are the most important contributor to student success in the classroom. In order to retain our educators, we need to ensure that they have access to high-quality, affordable early education and care for their own children. By investing in this important resource, we are creating the conditions that enable more excellent educators to stay in the classroom, providing high-quality K-12 educational opportunities for the youth of their community, while also knowing that their own children are being well cared for in an environment in which they can thrive.
MCPSA and our member schools urge the Legislature to pass the Common Start bill, as it represents a landmark opportunity to shape the future of education in our state, to nurture our youngest learners, and to invest in the future of Massachusetts. Thank you for your time and consideration.