Advancing the Profession: Research and Expertise
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What research and expertise are influencing Power to the Profession?
Transforming the Workforce
The Institute of Medicine’s seminal report supports building a workforce unified by the science of child development and early learning and the shared knowledge and competencies needed to provide consistent, high-quality support for the development and early learning of children from birth through age 8.
Increasing Qualifications, Centering Equity: Experiences and Advice from Early Childhood Educators of Color
Choosing whether, when, how, and for whom to raise the bar on the qualifications for working as an early childhood educator requires a complex set of decisions, data, and investments. Yet as our collective understanding of the crucial importance of the early years gives way to a focus on the knowledge, skills, competencies, and dispositions of those working with children in those years, we are obligated to concentrate on what it will take to raise expectations and qualifications at scale, while centering equity in the process.
Therefore, building on a shared interest in equity and advancing the profession, the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and The Education Trust decided to team up to meet 50 early childhood educators of color in New Jersey, North Carolina, and Wisconsin to lead and analyze 5 focus groups to unearth this expertise. Our new report, Increasing Qualifications, Centering Equity: Experiences and Advice from Early Childhood Educators of Color, is the result of that collaboration. The report provides policy implications based on the responses and recommendations to three main questions: (1) How do early childhood educators of color perceive policies that raise the educational requirements they have to reach in order to keep their jobs? (2) In what ways, if any, has the implementation of these policies impacted the career trajectories of early childhood educators of color? (3) What advice do early childhood educators of color who have “lived through” these policy changes have for policymakers and leaders heading toward similar change?
Read the full report and press release; engage with our blog post on the report in NAEYC's Equity in Action blog series; and connect with us on social media using the hashtag #EquityInECE. Finally, we are deeply grateful to the Goldman Foundation and the Alliance for Early Success for the support that made this project and paper possible.
Defining a Profession
- Redirecting Early Childhood Education’s Developmental Trajectory: Becoming A Recognized Profession by Stacie G. Goffin - Dec. 1, 2017
- Unifying, Defining, and Owning the Profession by Jacqueline Jones, PhD - Aug. 6, 2015
- Early Childhood Educators: Advancing the Profession – Executive Summary from NAEYC
NAEYC has conducted multiple rounds of market research over the last three years that deepened our collective understanding about the perspectives of American voters, parents, and educators themselves about how to advance and support high-quality early childhood education and the early childhood education profession. This research has been led by a bipartisan team of FM3 and Public Opinion Strategies, and generously supported by the Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation.
One of Us: K-3 Educators Are Early Childhood Educators
From the beginning, Power to the Profession has been clear in its goal of creating a unified framework for early childhood educators working with children birth through age 8. But with our fragmented profession, when we consider the role of educators in kindergarten through third grade, we wanted to know the answers to everything from "Do K-3 educators feel like early childhood educators?" to "What do they value most from their professional preparation–and what do they think is missing?" This round of research yields findings about these questions and more: what it means to these teachers to be an early childhood educator; what it takes, in terms of their professional preparation and ongoing support; and how they feel about deepening connections between K-3 and 0-5 educators. Read the Executive Summary and Press Release; listen to the Webinar Recording; and download the slides to learn more!
Uncovering the Inner Workings of States' Early Childhood Policies
When it comes to the early childhood education profession, each state’s unique and complex systems can make it difficult for advocates and educators to realize their workforce goals. The political landscape can present a number of formidable challenges to knowing and acting on what policy levers to pull, with whom, for whom, and in what order.
So, as part of an effort to prepare for the implementation of a comprehensive policy and financing strategy based on the Power to the Profession recommendations, NAEYC and New America, with support from Child Care Aware of America, are working with states to identify and analyze their key policies, governance bodies, and decision-making processes and positions related to the entire early childhood education workforce birth through age eight.
Our goal in this project is to promote a focus on states' policy and regulatory structures related to the early childhood workforce, in order to facilitate understanding and strategy regarding who holds power to make or prevent change, and where that power is held.
Read more about this project and what you can do in your state.
Growing the Demand for Quality: Parents and Early Childhood Educators Talk About the Financing of Early Learning
We have the science and evidence to demonstrate why we should be investing more in high-quality early childhood education. Yet we also continue to have an underfunded early childhood education system and an unsustainable market in which parents can’t pay any more and educators can’t make any less. How do we change this? How do we ensure that parents and early childhood educators are on the same side of defining and demanding high-quality early childhood education? This round of market research helped NAEYC explore three critical and interrelated issues: (1) How parents and educators think about quality in early childhood education; (2) How and whether their understanding of quality influences their choice of an early learning program, either as a place for their children to be cared for and educated, or as a place of employment; and (3) How their personal stake in the issue of early childhood education translates to their appetite and capacity for civic participation that advances the issue.
Making Investment in Early Childhood Education and Educators a National Priority
In 2015, NAEYC’s research highlighted widespread support for making investment in the early childhood education profession a national priority. To learn more about this research, download the Executive Summary, the Press Release and the Key Findings, and read more about NAEYC’s Next Steps. You can also check out media mentions from Education World, the Huffington Post, EdCentral and Education Week.
Download these social media infographics to share in your own posts:
Power to the Profession in the news
- Moving Beyond False Choices for Early Childhood Educators by Stacie G. Goffin - Jan. 9, 2018
- Early Childhood Education’s Future as a Profession: The Ball’s In Our Court by Stacie G. Goffin
- Pre-to-3: What is an early-childhood education professional? And what does that question mean for K-12 administrators? by Linda Jacobson - Dec. 8, 2017
- The Profession – Let’s Get on the Same Page by Samantha Marshall - Aug. 26, 2017
- A Letter to Every Adult Who Was Once A Child and Turned Out Fine by Rhian Evans Allvin - May 10, 2017
- Is Early Childhood Education a Profession? by Teri Talan - March 8, 2017
- A Profession-Led Dialogue: A Letter from the Chief Executive Officer to NAEYC Members by Rhian Evans Allvin - Feb. 22, 2017
- You Can’t Have Professionals Without a Profession by Laura Bornfreund & Stacie Goffin - Sep. 15, 2016