(This is the second entry in our ongoing Common Start Legislation series. See our Blog for more.)
Did you know that many Massachusetts families are unable to afford early education and care, and that early educators often earn poverty wages—just $14.11 an hour, on average?
For too many young children, the system just isn’t working. Their learning, growth and future success is hindered by the lack of affordable, high-quality early education and care, studies show. Likewise, low pay for educators leads to high turnover rates and staffing shortages, which impact relationships and disrupt the continuity of care. That’s not good for children either.
Fortunately, Massachusetts is moving in the right direction, and you can help. Ask your state legislators to co-sponsor the Common Start Legislation! It’s easy—simply enter your name and address, and hit send.
The Common Start Legislation calls for a 5-year pathway to universal early education and care for Massachusetts children ages 0-5. The bill aims to cap parent/caregiver fees at no more than seven percent of household income, expanding access to high-quality childcare and increasing program choice and flexibility for all families. Bedrock funding for providers would improve program stability and educator compensation.
As working parents of three young children, Gladis and Eduardo F. support universal, affordable childcare. “It’s important to know that we leave our children in a safe place, and they’re learning new skills...” says Gladis. “Please remember our story because there are many like us.”
You, Gladis and Eduardo are not alone. Seventy-five percent of Massachusetts voters believe families should receive at least some financial assistance to help cover childcare costs, according to a statewide poll. As many as 29 percent believe childcare should be free to all families, while 46 percent believe families should pay some of the costs. Fewer than one in five voters think families should have to cover all of the costs of childcare themselves.
The data is clear. Here in Worcester and across Massachusetts, we understand how important affordable childcare is. Still, the bill’s passage is far from guaranteed. Ask your state legislator to co-sponsor the Common Start Legislation today!
Massachusetts, we can do this.