The draft Power to the Profession framework outlining professional qualifications for early care and learning professionals has reopened a debate in the early childhood community that many felt had been put to rest with the publication of the report Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM). In fact, most had hoped that it had been put to rest. But the new draft framework includes a recommendation that an associate degree, or AA, be the entry-level credential for early childhood educators. So, necessarily, here we are again, debating whether a bachelor’s degree, or BA, is the appropriate entry-level credential for a lead early childhood educator.
States are leading the way with creative and timely solutions to support pre-K through third grade education (P-3).
Red and blue states alike are increasing investments in public pre-K programs, while others that are new to providing state-funded pre-K are looking at initial outcomes. Meanwhile, several other states are grappling with funding decisions.
Overall, legislation varies widely, from assessing school readiness in Utah, to providing quality improvement grants for low-income pre-K students in Colorado, to limiting suspension and expulsion of P-3 students in Virginia.
Check out NCSL’s new P-3 Education Bill Tracker for an interactive look at P-3 education bills introduced and enacted from 2018 legislative sessions. States have filed more than 300 bills across a broad spectrum of issues related to early learning. Legislators’ focus this session has been on pre-K, comprising 22 percent of all P-3 education bills filed.
From the introduction:
Child care assistance for low-income families is intended to reduce the cost of care for working parents, encourage children’s participation in high-quality child care arrangements, and increase stability in parents’ employment and children’s care arrangements. Children from low-income backgrounds who access high-quality early care and education (ECE) programs fare better on many developmental outcomes than children who do not. Common forms of child care assistance include federal subsidy programs, ECE programs such as Head Start/Early Head Start, and publicly funded universal pre-kindergarten programs.
Understanding how low-income families search for and locate ECE programs that meet their needs, and how they obtain assistance to pay for ECE, is a critically important issue for researchers and policymakers.
Historically, Hispanic families have underutilized government assistance programs aimed at serving families who experience poverty, reporting that they do not need them or do not have knowledge of the assistance available or eligibility requirements. Research has also found that Latino and other immigrant groups may not use federal assistance, due to a belief in helping their larger group (collectivist orientation), which could result in families foregoing support so that others may benefit, even when they themselves are eligible for assistance.
Because the Hispanic population is growing rapidly and often faces considerable economic need—and because ECE can play an important role in reducing racial/ethnic disparities in early learning and later school outcomes—it is important for the research and policy community to better understand how and why low-income Hispanic parents search for ECE. This study takes a closer look at low-income Hispanic parents’ reported reasons for conducting a search for an ECE provider or program for their young children.
This brief uses data from the 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) to describe why low-income Hispanic parents with young children (birth to age 5) report searching for child care; comparison data for low-income non-Hispanic black and white parents are also reported. Prior research involving low-income families from various racial/ethnic backgrounds showed that parents report a variety of reasons for their ECE searches. There are also several important barriers to low-income families’ use of care, including lack of availability, low affordability, and poor alignment with parents’ work schedules. Understanding similar or shared concerns about ECE across U.S. racial and ethnic groups—along with differences across these groups—can guide outreach by programs and inform policy adjustments that might better serve diverse groups…..
….The internship, which ended in early May, is one component of a new early childhood career pathway offered at the high school. The year-long program also includes two early childhood classes and leads to an entry-level certificate from Red Rocks Community College that qualifies students to be assistant preschool or child care teachers.
Salazar — and students in similar concurrent enrollment programs around Colorado — represents one segment of the child care field’s next generation. With their professional lives just beginning, the students are laying the foundation to earn further credentials and become the lead preschool teachers and directors of the future. It’s a vision straight out of the state’s three-year plan to build a strong early childhood workforce. But in a field known for low pay and high turnover, keeping these students in the pipeline is no small task…..
Colorado’s Early Childhood Workforce 2020 Plan
Source: Colorado Department of Education, Early Childhood Leadership Commission (ECLC), June 2017
Source: Sarah Thomason, Lea Austin, Annette Bernhardt, Laura Dresser, Ken Jacobs and Marcy Whitebook, Center for Labor Research and Education (UC Berkeley), Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (UC Berkeley), and COWS (UW-Madison), May 2018
From the introduction:
In November 2012, fast-food workers in New York went on strike and the Fight for $15 was born. Over the last five years, the movement has lifted wages for more than 17 million workers across the nation by fighting for and winning numerous minimum wage policies (National Employment Law Project 2016).
Substantial minimum wage increases are underway in California, New York, Oregon, and more than 30 cities and counties around the country. In states and cities covered by them, these new minimum wages will increase earnings for 25 to 40 percent of workers (Reich, Allegretto, and Montialoux 2017; Reich et al. 2016). After four decades of wage stagnation and rising inequality, the movement has delivered real, much needed, and meaningful progress in a remarkably short period of time.
Fast food has been iconic in the discussions of the minimum wage, from the influential mid-1990s research that found no negative employment impact of wage increases in the industry, to the fast-food workers who have walked out on strike in cities across the country in recent years (Card and Kruger 1995). But of course the reach of these wage increases extends well beyond fast food to underpaid workers in multiple industries. The dynamics of minimum wage increases vary across industries based on each industry’s specific structure.
Nowhere are the distinct dynamics more pronounced and challenging than for those employed in human services industries. This paper focuses on an important subset of these workers: those who provide homecare and early care and education services to the very young, people with disabilities, and those who are frail due to age or illness. We explain the pressing need to raise these workers’ wages and the unique structure of their industries that results in a funding squeeze for wage increases—at the root of this is the fact that most families are unable to afford all of the homecare and child care they need, never mind pay enough to ensure that workers earn a living wage, and public human services are chronically underfunded.
These workers provide a critical (but too often unrecognized) public good; as such, we argue that a significant public investment is a necessary part of the solution, both to deliver minimum wage increases to these workers and to cover the significant unmet need for care. We provide background about the shared and divergent challenges in the homecare and early care and education industries, as well as review emerging policy initiatives to fund wage increases for homecare and early care and education workers and identify principles for public policy going forward.
Source: Allison H. Friedman-Krauss, W. Steven Barnett, G.G. Weisenfeld, Richard Kasmin, Nicole DiCrecchio, Michelle Horowitz, Rutgers University, National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), 2018
From the press release:
A new state-by-state report shows more young children enrolled in public pre-K programs but a troubling lack of policies ensuring the quality classroom experiences they need to get ready for kindergarten. The State of Preschool 2017 annual report, based on 2016-17 academic year data, finds states heeding the demand for pre-K and expanding access to publicly funded programs in a variety of settings. But instead of supporting quality early learning with adequate resources, most state programs invest too little to help children catch up with their more advantaged peers by kindergarten….
Because preschool programs that include all kids boost low-income 4-year-olds’ reading scores, they could be a better way to spend tax dollars, according to a Dartmouth economist.
Does Universal Preschool Hit the Target? Program Access and Preschool Impacts
Source: Elizabeth U. Cascio, Dartmouth College, NBER, and IZA, December 22, 2017
This paper uses the rich diversity in state rules governing access to public preschool programs in the U.S. to study the relative cost efficacy of universal programs for poor populations. Using age-eligibility rules to construct an instrument for attendance, I find that universal preschool generates substantial cognitive test score gains for poor 4-year-olds. Preschool programs targeted toward poor children do not. These findings are robust to the definition of poverty, comparison group, and controls for test scores earlier in life, and cross-state differences in demographics and alternative care options are not decisive factors. Benefit-cost ratios of universal programs remain favorable despite their relatively high costs per poor child. An auxiliary analysis suggests that peer effects are an important contributor to universal programs’ higher productivity.
From the abstract:
This special report discusses the revenue streams available for funding quality pre-K programs, and includes an overview of funding types and variations.
How much education does a preschool teacher need?
When the District of Columbia announced in March that it would require an associate’s degree for all lead teachers at child care centers who work with children up to age 5, the reaction was widely negative. …. The science of brain development shows a clear connection between positive early educational experiences and later success in life. The foundation for literacy, mathematics and science develops rapidly in infancy and continues throughout early childhood. The competencies early educators must have to guide this development effectively, as outlined in a 2015 Institute of Medicine report, are extensive. They include a “sophisticated understanding of the child’s cognitive and socioemotional development [and] knowledge of a broad range of subject-matter content areas.” ….
Head Start programs may keep young children from being placed in foster care, new research suggests.
Kids up to age five in the federal government’s preschool program were 93 percent less likely to end up in foster care than kids in the child welfare system who had no type of early care and education, says Sacha Klein, an assistant professor of social work at Michigan State University.
Klein and colleagues examined multiple forms of early care and education—from daycare with a family member to more structured programs—and found Head Start was the only one to guard against foster care placement.
Early care and education arrangements and young children’s risk of foster placement: Findings from a National Child Welfare Sample
Source: Sacha Klein, Lauren Fries, Mary M.Emmons, Children and Youth Services Review, In Press – Accepted Manuscript, Available online 6 September 2017
From the abstract:
A primary goal of the U.S. child welfare system (CWS) is to maintain children investigated for maltreatment in their parents’ homes whenever safely possible. This study explores the possibility that early care and education (ECE) services (e.g., child care, preschool, day care) can help the CWS achieve this goal by using a nationally representative sample of children referred to CWS for suspected maltreatment to measure the relationship between ECE receipt and the likelihood that 0–5 year olds in the CWS will be placed in foster care approximately 18 months later. Specifically, logistic regression analyses explore the relationship between: (1) regular ECE participation (yes/no), and (2) type of ECE arrangement (Head Start, other center- or home-based ECE, family/friend/relative ECE, other ECE, and multiple types of ECE) and foster placement risk. After controlling for multiple socio-demographic characteristics and foster placement risk factors, children who received ECE (yes/no) were no less likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE. However, when exploring type of ECE arrangement, children who received Head Start were 93% less likely to be placed in foster care than children with no ECE. Children who participated in multiple types of ECE were almost seven times more likely to be placed in foster care than children with no ECE. These results suggest that Head Start may help maltreated children avoid foster placement and that experiencing multiple types of ECE is a risk factor for foster placement. It is recommended that caseworkers routinely assess the ECE service history and needs of families with young children who come in contact with the CWS, paying attention to the type and number of ECE services used.
• We explore whether receipt of early care and education (ECE) services reduces the likelihood of foster placement for 0-5 year olds in the U.S. child welfare system.
• ECE receipt (yes/no) was unrelated to children’s odds of being placed in foster care.
• However, children who participated in Head Start preschools were 93% less likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE.
• Children who used multiple types of ECE were almost seven times more likely to be placed in foster care than children who received no ECE.