State Senator Jason Lewis will be serving as the Senate Chair of a newly formed Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission. This special commission was established in legislation passed late last year. The House Chair of the commission is State Representative Alice Peisch. Senator Lewis and Representative Peisch also serve as the co-chairs of the Joint Committee on Education.
The Commission is tasked with investigating accessibility, affordability, and other concerns surrounding early education and childcare in the Commonwealth, and making recommendations to the state legislature for policy and funding solutions. The scope of the commission’s work includes care for young children, birth to age 5, as well as out-of-school time care for children up to age 12 (and older for those with disabilities).
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated challenges in early education and childcare that existed even before the pandemic: too many working families struggle to afford the high costs; too many providers are barely able to survive; the early educator workforce is undervalued and underpaid; and our early education and care system is not meeting the needs of our employers and economy,” said Senator Jason Lewis, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Education and Co-Chair of the Early Education and Care Economic Review Commission. “With a growing consensus among the public, the business community and policymakers that high-quality, affordable, accessible early education and childcare are indispensable, this commission has a unique opportunity to lay out a roadmap for bold, transformative policy action.”
The commission includes representation from legislators as well as leaders from a cross-section of the Commonwealth, including the Secretary of Education, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, Commissioner of Early Education & Care, Commissioner of Elementary & Secondary Education, Open Center for Children, YMCA, Eastern Bank, Dell Technologies, Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, Massachusetts Afterschool Partnership, Massachusetts Head Start Association, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Strategies for Children, Massachusetts Association for the Education of Young Children, The Community Group, SEIU 509, and BayCoast Bank.
The commission will be holding public meetings and seeking input from all stakeholders in the early education and childcare sector, and is expected to present its findings and recommendations by the end of this year.