JOINT STATEMENT OF REPRESENTATIVE ALICE PEISCH AND SENATOR JASON LEWIS
On behalf of the Joint Committee on Education, we are pleased to announce that today the Committee is releasing An Act to expand access to high quality, affordable early education and care. This bill represents a significant step forward in the multi-session implementation of the recommendations made by the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission, which filed its report in March. Along with substantial new investments in early education and care made in the House of Representative’s FY23 budget and the Senate Ways & Means Committee’s FY23 budget proposal, this legislation when fully implemented will be transformative in expanding access to high quality, sustainable, and affordable early education and care for young children and families in Massachusetts. We are grateful to the many legislative leaders and early education stakeholders who have been active participants throughout this process, and we look forward to continued collaboration in the months ahead as we build on the critical progress we have made supporting the Commonwealth’s students and families.
Representative Alice H. Peisch
Senator Jason M. Lewis
Co-Chairs, Joint Committee on Education
An Act to Expand Access to High-Quality, Affordable Early Education and Care
This bill makes several key changes and additions to the responsibilities of the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and codifies several current practices to increase access and affordability to high-quality childcare and to improve the training and sustainability of the workforce. It touches on all of the recommendations put forth by the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission report released in March. A more detailed section by section summary can be found below:
- Section 1 exempts The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) from the Operational Services Division price limitations so that providers who accept subsidies can offer discounts and scholarships to their teachers and other families.
- Section 2 adds several definitions to chapter 15D.
- Section 3 changes the parameters for determining and increasing reimbursement rates for early education and care subsidies including reimbursing programs based on enrollment rather than attendance.
- Section 4 requires EEC to annually collect demographic and enrollment data from licensed programs.
- Section 5 expands and prioritizes early education and subsidy eligibility and requires EEC to annually evaluate and eliminate barriers to access.
- Section 6
- creates operational grants for early education and care programs and sets parameters for eligibility for these grants
- creates a scholarship program and a loan forgiveness program for early education and care providers
- makes Early Education and Care a priority field for workforce development efforts
- requires EEC to annually report information regarding subsidy usage, waitlists, operational grant distribution, and workforce data.
- Section 7 directs EOLWD to create a task force on employer provided benefits for childcare.
- Section 8 directs EEC to create a plan for expanding local partnerships
- Section 9 directs EEC and the children’s investment fund to study and report on potential revisions to the EEOST grant program.
- Section 10 directs EEC, EOLWD, and the Commonwealth corporation to study and report on recruitment and retention initiatives including expanding apprenticeship programs
- Section 11 directs EEC to report on the administration of the scholarship program.
- Section 12 directs EEC to study and report on the current landscape of care and demand.
- Section 13 directs EEC to develop a cost of quality care methodology to be used as the basis for setting reimbursement rates
- Section 14 directs EEC to create a career ladder with compensation guidelines for early education and care teachers.
- Section 15 directs EEC to create a plan for piloting and expanding shared service hubs
- Section 16 directs EEC to report on steps and resources required to implement the provisions in this bill within 180 days of the bill’s passage