The core components of a unified profession are interconnected and dependent on one another. In order to manage this complexity, we are structuring Power to the Profession into a series of coordinated, iterative and strategic decision cycles. The goal of using cycles to approach this conversation is to be able to focus on one aspect of the early childhood education profession at a time while understanding its connection to the whole.
Current Decision Cycles
Decision Cycle 3: Specializations and specialized competencies within the early childhood education profession
Decision Cycle 4: Competency Attainment Source
Decision Cycle 5: Qualifications and Pathways
Given the deeply interconnected nature of Decision Cycles 3, 4, and 5, they are being addressed as a whole, rather than as a sequence. We cannot detangle professional preparation, professional designations, scopes of practice, and specializations.
Working Draft 1 for Decision Cycles 3, 4, and 5 (includes Study Guide)
Once you have had time to think about the proposed recommendations and how they might impact your work, you are invited to complete this survey to share your thoughts.
The Study Guide includes summary statements and key questions for reflection on how the recommendations may impact your work.
Summary of Draft Recommendations
1. The early childhood education profession (made up of early childhood educators) is a distinct profession among other professions and occupations in the early childhood field.
Most professions have one designation: this structure offers clarity but has often resulted in stratified and highly segmented fields that are more likely to result in the exclusion of educators from communities of color and those without bachelor’s degrees. Prioritizing diversity and equity, the Task Force recommends a structure in which there are three designations within the early childhood profession – Early Childhood Educator I (ECE I), Early Childhood Educator II (ECE II), and Early Childhood Educator III (ECE III).
2. Early childhood educators are defined by their mastery of the knowledge, skills and competencies referenced in Decision Cycle 2. The Task Force recommends that the following programs be endorsed and supported to prepare early childhood educators. These programs will serve as the primary preparation pathways:
- Early Childhood Education Professional Training Programs (minimum 120 training hours)
- Early Childhood Education Associate Degree Programs
- Early Childhood Education Bachelor’s Degree Programs
- Early Childhood Education Master’s Degree Programs (initial preparation)
3. Innovative approaches in professional preparation should be encouraged. Examples include competency- based programs, use of prior learning assessments for awarding credit, work-based supervised practicum/clinical experiences and intensive degree programs with shorter duration. In particular, innovations that are designed to reach non-traditional and diverse students are essential to eliminating the existing barriers to higher education.
4. Uniform designations (ECE I, ECE II, and ECE III) and levels of preparation listed in #2 should be distinct and meaningful. Clear expectations for early childhood educators and the programs preparing early childhood educators for each designation must be established. As early childhood educators gain deeper mastery of the unifying competencies through increased levels of preparation, the scope of their practice and professional responsibilities will increase.
Early childhood educators must generalize before they are eligible to specialize. Once the generalist framework is established by the profession and as it becomes reflected in key state and federal policies, the profession can mobilize to create and/or promote specializations. Specializations should help early childhood educators deepen their knowledge and practice and create a professional niche.
5. In implementing the unifying framework, we will honor the existing early childhood workforce by creating exemption policies, pathways, and timeframes that serve as a bridge from our present to our future. We will not advocate for increased educational requirements without advocating for funding to provide requisite supports and attendant compensation. We will not advocate for new regulations without advocating for funding to implement them. We will not advocate for policies that disproportionately and negatively impact educators from communities of color, and we will advocate for policies that mitigate unintended consequences and create meaningful pathways for advancement.
NEW! Q&A Fridays - Virtual Offices Hours with Power to the Profession leadership
Open call-in office hours the 2nd and 4th Fridays of each month. Join in an informal conversation with Power to the Profession leadership if you have:
- General questions about Power to the Profession
- Questions about decision cycles and the development of the early childhood education profession
- An interest in helping to spread the word about Power to the Profession
Individuals or small groups click here to register. Registration is requested by 8:00ET on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays.
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Previous Decision Cycles
Decision Cycle 1: Professional Identity and Boundaries
Who are we advancing as a profession? What is the distinct role and responsibility of this profession? What is the name of this profession? Who are we not defining in this process?
Consensus Draft for Decision Cycle 1 approved by the National Task Force
Review previous working drafts:
- Information from the field requested to begin this cycle conversation – N/A for this cycle
- Draft 1 from Task Force available – posted on February 20 - March 13, 2017
- Public comments on Draft 1 from Task Force requested via survey – COMPLETE
- Draft 2 from Task Force available – posted by March 20 - 26, 2017
- Public comments on Draft 2 from Task Force requested via survey – COMPLETE
- Final Working Draft – posted May 11, 2017
Decision Cycle 2: General Competencies
Consensus Draft on Decision Cycle 2 approved by the National Task Force
- Summary of Transforming the Workforce recommendations by National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching and Learning
- National competencies and standards
- Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation Standards
- Council of Chief State School Officers – Interstate Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (InTASC) Model Core Teacher Standard
- Council for Exceptional Children - Special Educator Professional Preparation Standards and Early Childhood Special Education/Early Intervention Specialty Set
- Council for Professional Recognition - Child Development Associate (CDA) Competency Standards
- National Association for the Education of Young Children - 2010 NAEYC Standards for Initial and Advanced Early Childhood Professional Preparation Programs
- National Board for Professional Teaching Standards - Early Childhood Generalist Standards
- ZERO TO THREE - Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators
- Additional information on the NAEYC preparation standards, including alignment with other national standards, can be found here.
Upcoming Decision Cycles
Decision Cycle 6: Compensation Recommendations (Launch June 2018)
Decision Cycle 7: Required Accountability and Quality Assurance (Launch August 2018)
Decision Cycle 8: Required Support and Infrastructure (Launch August 2018)
Concept of Decision Cycles
All the components of the framework for a unified profession are interconnected and dependent on one another. In order to manage this complexity, we are structuring the initiative into a series of coordinated, iterative and strategic decision cycles. These cycles are designed to be predictable and intentionally sequenced to build on one another in order to lead to a unified framework.
The goal of using cycles to approach this conversation is to be able to focus on one aspect of the unified framework at a time without loosing its connection to the whole. The outcome of each cycle will be a defining document for each element of the unified framework. However, each document has the possibility to be revisited at a later cycle as new insights and connections are revealed.
Anatomy of Decision Cycle
Deliberations with Task Force meeting
Pre-meeting Information gathering including review and synthesis of research
Each Task Force meeting will end with a working draft statement on the topic of each cycle
Review and feedback from the field
Draft statement available for review 2 weeks after the Task Force meets
Draft statement first sent to Stakeholders
Comment period on working draft open for 3 weeks
Analyze feedback from the field and implementation analysis
Task Force deliberates on changes, makes recommendations for working draft 2
Review and feedback from the field
Draft statement available 3 weeks after first public comment period closes
Comment period on working draft 2 open for 1 week
Collect and analyze reaction to working draft 2
Task Force approves final draft