Teacher Prep Programs for Early Childhood Education Explored in Two Useful Reports

BOULDER, CO (May 8, 2018) – It Takes a Community: Leveraging Community College Capacity to Transform the Early Childhood Workforce, published by the Bellwether Education Partners, and Pre-K Teachers and Bachelor’s Degrees: Envisioning Equitable Access to High-Quality Preparation Program, published by New America and Bellwether, both examine the current state of early childhood education (ECE) teacher preparation programs at the community college and university levels.

Professor Adam Winsler of George Mason University reviewed the reports and found them to be mostly sound, with the It Takes a Community report more comprehensive and useful than the second, shorter one.

Both reports raise awareness about the challenges facing the ECE workforce and educational institutions in dealing with the recent policy push to increase the required educational credentials for pre-K teachers. Specifically, these policies elevate the requirement from the Child Development Associate certificate to an associate’s degree or to a bachelor’s degree with early childhood specialization.

The reports also illustrate innovative practices that some states and colleges are implementing to improve the quality, flexibility, mobility, and diversity of ECE teachers. They end with policy recommendations for states, colleges, and ECE leaders. 

The methods consist of simple literature reviews that generally rely on think tank white papers, as opposed to peer-reviewed journal publications. The reports also incorporate informal interviews with ECE stakeholders and leaders, although the methodology and selection procedures used are unclear. 

Notwithstanding these limitations, the analyses appear sound and the conclusions and recommendations made are generally reasonable, supported by the relatively limited data available. 

Find the review, by Adam Winsler, at:
http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-ece-prep

Find It Takes a Community: Leveraging Community College Capacity to Transform the Early Childhood Workforce, written by Marnie Kaplan and published by Bellwether Education Partners, at:
https://bellwethereducation.org/sites/default/files/Bellwether_CommunityCollege_JPK_Final.pdf

Find Pre-K Teachers and Bachelor’s Degrees: Envisioning Equitable Access to High-Quality Preparation Programs, written by Emily Workman, Lisa Guernsey, and Sara Mead and published by New America and Bellwether Education Partners, at:
https://na-production.s3.amazonaws.com/documents/PreK-Teachers-Bachelors-Degrees.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