Report Underplays Critical Issues in Professionalizing Early Childhood Teachers

BOULDER, CO (January 18, 2018) – When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online: Challenges and Opportunities, written by Shayna Cook and published by New America Foundation, argues that appropriately structured online degree programs have the potential to professionalize and increase the quality of early childhood (EC) teachers.

Beth Graue and Erica Ramberg of the University of Wisconsin-Madison reviewed the report and assert that while it draws attention to some of the unique considerations necessary for EC workforce policy, it underplays a number of critical issues in professionalizing the field.

The report contends that online bachelor’s programs offer more flexible and financially accessible pathways for teachers to obtain a degree. These programs are presented in the report as a way to raise standards and thus propel these teachers towards higher quality practice and higher salaries.

Graue and Ramberg conclude that the report lacks adequate treatment of the EC workforce’s economic realities that place these pre-K teachers at the poverty line, regardless of credential or degree. The report also is problematic in its choice to present testimonials rather than evidence of outcomes for online programs. Finally, though recognizing the importance of “high-quality” EC programs, the report leaves the term under-analyzed.

Unfortunately, without a nuanced discussion of these issues, the report’s usefulness is limited.

Find the review, by Beth Graue and Erica Ramberg, at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-pre-k

Find When Degree Programs for Pre-K Teachers Go Online: Challenges and Opportunities, written by Shayna Cook and published by New America Foundation, at:
https://na-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/When-Degree-Programs-Online.pdf

NEPC Reviews (http://thinktankreview.org) provide the public, policymakers, and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. NEPC Reviews are made possible in part by support provided by the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice: http://www.greatlakescenter.org

The National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, produces and disseminates high-quality, peer-reviewed research to inform education policy discussions. Visit us at: https://nepc.colorado.edu