Quality & Targeted Programs

EEC administers multiple early education programs that are either targeted to particular populations or aimed specifically to improve the overall quality of programming.

Research in child development has laid out the links between early childhood development and future educational success. The brain develops at a tremendous rate before birth and during a child's first years of life. Third grade literacy is a common benchmark for early reading as research has shown that students not reading by third grade are more likely to struggle and fall behind in school, repeat a grade, and drop out of school.

Quality and targeted programs have evolved from this research and attempt to extend educational opportunities to more of the youngest children in Massachusetts, especially those from economically disadvantaged households.

EEC has instituted the Massachusetts tiered Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) to ensure a level of quality in the care provided by early education programs. QRIS provides a standardized framework for evaluating program quality across the state.

High-quality public K-12 education plays a central role in helping all children reach their full potential in Massachusetts, but some children who start school behind their peers may remain behind throughout their education. In 2015, 41 percent of Massachusetts' third graders scored below proficient in reading. The state also has large achievement gaps in third grade literacy among kids based on income and race. The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) ranked Massachusetts 42nd in early education funding in 2016, down from 8th in 2003, when rankings were first published. Early education programs enhance a child's physical, cognitive, and social development, and directly impact subsequent success in school and later life.

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