Section 13 of chapter 15D of the general laws, as appearing in the 2012 official edition is hereby amended by inserting at the end the following new subsection (e):
(e) There shall be a special commission for the purpose of making an investigation and study relative to how to expand universal pre-kindergarten to provide pre-kindergarten to every pre-kindergarten aged child in the Commonwealth, which shall be known as the Universal Pre-Kindergarten Commission.
The commission shall be chaired by the commissioner of the department of early education and care or his designee. The secretary of education or his designee and the commissioner of the department of elementary and secondary education or his designee shall be members. The governor shall appoint six members, one of whom shall be nominated by Head Start Massachusetts, one of whom shall have experience operating a private preschool, one of whom shall be a member of a teachers’ union or association, one of whom shall be nominated by the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, Inc. and one of whom shall be nominated by the Massachusetts Association of School Committees. The speaker of the house and the senate president shall each appoint one member. The commission shall report its findings and any legislation necessary to implement said findings to the governor, the clerks of the senate and house of representatives, the senate and house of representatives committees on ways and means, the joint committee on children, families and persons with disabilities and the joint committee on education by December 31, 2016.
The commission report shall include but not be limited to: an analysis of how to best expand quality pre-kindergarten offerings in Massachusetts such that every 3 and 4 year old would be able to attend, how to pay for expanding pre-kindergarten offerings, the appropriate ratio and combination of various types of pre-kindergarten programs to best serve children throughout the state and the best way to promote high quality educational curriculum, child development and safety standards. In making its recommendations the commission shall consider among other issues:
a) the advantages and disadvantages including cost, parental preference and ease of expansion of pre-kindergarten as provided by Head Start, public schools, programs licensed or subsidized by the department of early education and care and private programs;
b) the cost of expanding pre-kindergarten offerings according to the different program models that are available, e.g. Head Start, public schools, programs licensed or subsidized by the department of early education and care and private programs;
c) the financial benefits of universal pre-kindergarten for education readiness and greater employment opportunities for parents;
d) the possibility of including pre-kindergarten students when calculating the distribution of Chapter 70 education funds;
e) how to appropriately increase pre-kindergarten offerings over time while ensuring quality of care and safety; and
f) the optimum way to expand participation in the Quality Rating Information System (QRIS) or other curriculum standards programs adopted by Massachusetts, including providing grants or other financial incentives for participation.
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