Studies show that educational achievement gaps already exist at Kindergarten entry.  Children from low-income families are more likely to start school with limited language skills, health problems and social and emotional problems that interfere with learning.  The larger the gap at school entry, the harder it is to close.

Language proficiency is a key predictor of school success. Early literacy skills (size of vocabulary, recognizing letters, understanding letter and sound relationships) at kindergarten entry are good predictors of children's reading abilities throughout their educational careers. Language and literacy skills enable children to develop cognitive skills and knowledge and to interact effectively with peers and adults.



Highlights of the State
Massachusetts is showing its commitment to children and families in several ways, most recently through the Early Education and Care Council.  This body is comprised of Commissioners from three state agencies: the Department of Education, Department of Public Health and the Office of Child Care Services all striving to develop a comprehensive plan to coordinate, integrate and streamline publicly funded early education and care.  This council is a great example of how Massachusetts is working to bring together departments who commonly work with the same populations.

Still very much in the works is the School Readiness Indicators Project (SRIP), forged from the 2001 report titled School Readiness in Massachusetts: A Report of the Governor's Commission on School Readiness.  With high-level support from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) and under the direction of the Office of Child Care Services (OCCS), Massachusetts has identified 35 indicators it believes will help demonstrate how well we support families and help our children succeed.

Massachusetts is pleased to embark on this process involving collaboration between multiple public and private agencies already working for the betterment of its children and families.  For the first time in state history different agencies are working together, sharing information and centralizing their missions to give young children the best opportunities for learning possible.

Our indicators will eventually help us create a "report card", not for the children themselves but for us, as policy makers, providers, families and citizens.  We want to know what works and what doesn't in order to make changes and increase our efforts where needed.  Massachusetts understands that this is a learning process for everyone involved and we hope to create a flexible model that can adjust to the changing future.


Policy Issues
The policy issues for the state are complex and involve multiple parties.  Our top priorities are children and their families and these issues reflect that commitment.

  • Improve state and local coordination and oversight of early education and care programs and services
  • Increase alignment of policies and operations
  • Strengthen parent eduction and involvement
  • Create an effective data collection system to inform policy and program planning and development
  • Establish the appropriate balance between funding for direct service, quality enhancement and administration
  • Ensure the creation of a workforce system to support the education, training and compensation of teachers

Visit the Office of Child Care Services on-line, by clicking here.

Visit Massachusetts' state website, by clicking here.


Statutory Children's Cabinet
Massachusetts has no statutory children's group.


© 2005, School Readiness Indicators Initiative
One Union Station Providence, RI 02903 401.351.9400 fax 401.351.1758
If you have a question or comment about this website, please contact us.

The School Readiness Indicators Initiative is supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Ford Foundation.
The 17-state initiative is managed by Rhode Island KIDS COUNT