Jul 7, 2022 - News

Boston Mayor announces $20M for early childhood education

Illustration of a red apple with a hundred dollar bill for a leaf. 
Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The city of Boston will expand its universal pre-kindergarten program by adding more seats and including family-based child care providers in the early education system.

Driving the news: Mayor Michelle Wu announced a $20 million investment in pre-k Wednesday.

  • The plan will allow more 3- and 4-year-olds in nearly 1,000 community-based provider settings.
  • Family-based caregivers, like relatives, will also be allowed to take part in official city pre-k infrastructure, and will be eligible for grants and other funding.

Details: Wu said the city will work with family-based care centers next school year to make sure they meet quality and training standards and can be included in grant programs.

  • Community, home and family-based centers can play a big part in providing culturally appropriate care and education in a child's native language, Wu said, according to WBUR.

What they're saying: "When we meet the needs of our children, we are meeting the needs of Boston's immigrant communities and entrepreneurs, essential workers, parents, communities of color, and of course, we are lifting up our youngest residents, which yields the greatest return of all," Wu said, according to the Globe.

Zoom out: Early education and childcare is on the minds of state officials as well. The Senate plans to pass an ambitious child care bill this afternoon that would expand program eligibility while making it easier for providers to make a living in the industry.

  • The Senate plan would greatly increase the maximum income level for families to qualify for state care programs from just over $65,000 annually to just under $165,000 a year.
  • Senate Democrats also want to pay more grant money to child care providers to subsidize what is often an unprofitable, but necessary, business.

Reality check: Though expanding early education and childcare is a popular idea among Beacon Hill Democrats, it's unlikely the Senate's proposal will gain traction in the House since the agenda for the remaining legislative session is already set.

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