The Healey administration deserves enormous praise for its plan to reform the state’s system of reimbursement for early care and education providers who accept Child Fare Financial Assistance (“Healey pushes to bring child care to many more,” Page A1, Jan. 17).
Governor Maura Healey’s plan is the result of leadership by early educators who have long advocated not just for increased reimbursement rates that reflect the true costs of care but also for an examination of the systems that create inequities in reimbursement rates across geographic regions and age groups.
The COVID-19 pandemic is often credited with raising public awareness that “child care is a linchpin” for the economy, as Healey said. But from the earliest days of the pandemic, early educators have been testifying at State House hearings, speaking out at press conferences, and joining early education advocacy organizations such as Strategies for Children to ensure that their voices are heard.
Early educators have firsthand experience with what works — and what doesn’t — when it comes to making high-quality early education and care economically viable. Their information and ideas have been central to this debate.
The writer is the executive director of the Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation and a professor and program director in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston.