Education

Can universities help kindergarten teachers return to school?

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The clock in Washington, DC is ticking until the end of 2023, and workers who teach the smallest learners in the country’s capital will be required to have an advanced certificate in early childhood education.

For some teachers, this feels like pressure. For university leaders, it feels like an opportunity. Therefore, the two universities in the city are shelving cross-town competition to jointly meet the labor demand in this region.

This Partners join American University, Trinity Washington University and Martha Table, A non-profit organization that runs childcare programs and other social services. It creates a “stackable certificate” pathway for educators, who can obtain a certificate at any institution, and then use the credits for an associate’s degree at Trinity College or a bachelor’s degree from any university.

“We will meet with everyone where they are to meet the needs of everyone at all levels,” said Karen Santos Rogers, deputy dean of Trinity College of Education. “As this trend spreads across the country, we will truly become role models and role models.”

Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, Dean of the School of Education of American Universities, said that it is unusual for private national universities to respond to local labor market trends and provide certificates other than four-year degrees. . However, the agency created an online certificate program to meet the needs of DC early childhood educators, most of whom do not fit the image of a typical American college student.

The dean stated that considering different business models, focusing on lifelong learning, “non-traditional students” and the responsibility to meet the needs of the community are part of the broader transformation of higher education.

It is also surprising that the two universities cooperate rather than compete for students.

“It’s about us learning from each other and working together,” Holcomb-McCoy said. “There are enough students interested, we don’t have to worry about competition-we just need to do this well.”

Martha’s Table launched an early childhood education program in Washington, DC, provided by Martha’s Table.

Educator

The certification standards for early childhood educators vary by state and environment, and have different expectations for people working in private homes, schools, and centers. For example, a teacher at the Louisiana Child Care Center does not need any specific certificates or degrees, but he or she needs a child development assistant certificate to work in Georgia and receive an associate degree in Pennsylvania. 2020 Child Labor Force Index From the Child Care Employment Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

However as Recognition growth Ashley LiBetti, associate partner of Bellwether Education Partners, a non-profit organization, said that regarding the importance of early childhood learning, it is becoming more common for states to require educators to have certain certificates.

Opponents of the policy change believe that it places an unnecessary burden on workers. However, according to data from the Child Care Employment Research Center, advocates hope that the certificate requirements can improve the quality of teaching received by young children and improve the working conditions of educators. Their average hourly income in the United States is $11.65.

Since 2016, these views have clashed in Washington, when The final requirements of the policy approved by the city government The director of the childcare center has a bachelor’s degree, leading teachers have an associate degree, and other educators have a CDA. Over the years, a lawsuit challenging these rules has been repeated in court.In March of this year, Republican congressmen Introduce a bill aimed at overturning requirements(Local laws passed in Washington, DC are subject to Congressional review.)

Teria Powell understands these two views. She worked for a public chartered kindergarten in Washington, DC for eight years, first as an operations manager and now as a family involvement expert. She said her lack of a degree prevented her from getting a raise and job opportunities. It is not always fair to her to see other people with less experience but higher qualifications being hired or promoted.

“But I also understand the need to be able to say,’Our educators are educated,'” Powell added.

This is one of the reasons why she has been earning an associate degree in early childhood education through the Trinity program for four years. In addition, Powell appreciates the knowledge she has acquired through university courses, and she applies this knowledge whenever she designs activities and communicates with her family and the wider community.

Before joining Trinity, “I know what we did, but I don’t know why we do the science and methods behind these things,” Powell said. “Not only can I grow professionally, but I can also provide better services to my parents.”

For example, if a family is worried that children spend too much time “just playing,” Powell can use her research to explain how inventing fictional games and stories is actually Yes Learn. If parents don’t want to hear from kindergarten that their children know a few letters instead of the entire alphabet, Powell can help them set age-appropriate expectations.

“Which parent doesn’t think his 4-year-old child is a genius?” Powell pondered. “It stands to reason, that’s good. Your kid is in a good place.”

Teacher and child on the slide
Provided by Martha’s table.

Priority access

Holcomb-McCoy acknowledged that Washington, DC, has nearly 500 licensed early childhood facilities and that thousands of workers may be affected, and that the city’s plan to introduce higher education requirements is “very ambitious.” But this is in line with her belief that early learning is “the cornerstone of everything else.”

“A person’s learning ability and career choices are based on getting a very good start in their education,” she said. “I believe that investing in early childhood education is a way to improve people’s lives.”

However, for the requirement to truly improve early care and education like DC does, LiBetti said Higher education courses must be of high quality–this is Difficult to measure, According to her research.

She believes that training programs must be available to educators who find they need to return to school. This may mean that the course is delivered outside of normal working hours, online, or in an early childhood project where the student is already working. This may mean that the university provides childcare services for students in need.It may involve providing scholarships and ensuring transportation subsidies Available To help pay for it.

“You can do many different things to help early educators obtain and complete some of these certificate programs,” LiBetti said. She added that if these strategies are not used, “it will have a negative impact on current early educators.”

The leaders of Trinity and American universities said their partnership has been affected.

consider Low salaries for childcare staff“It is impossible to add any type of loan,” Rogers said.Therefore, in order to reduce the cost of students, the United States agreed to match the lower tuition fees charged by Trinity, and these institutions Clark Foundation, Supporting non-profit organizations in Washington

In order to accommodate full-time students, the university considers how to allow courses to be completed in the evenings and weekends.

“The reason we decided to launch CDA was accessibility,” Holcomb-McCoy said. “It’s interactive, but students can do it at their own pace. They can do it anywhere and on their mobile phones.”

Other obstacles may be psychological rather than logistical. The deans said that even with professional experience, students may need to increase their confidence to start or return to higher education.

“Some students will come back after leaving school for a while. They will overcome the intimidation of the whole university’things’,” Holcomb-McCoy said. “We have included budget coaches, consultants and support networks into the available range of students to help them overcome some obstacles.”

LiBetti says that one of the most important components of university collaboration is that they agree to respect each other’s courses.

LiBetti explains, “Usually you cannot transfer credits between two different higher education institutions”. “The fact that Trinity and American deliberately built it this way is very, very thoughtful.”

Powell, a Trinity student, has a lot of balance in her curriculum: she is a full-time author, mother, adoptive parent, and wife.

“Finding time for real classes and finding time for homework is definitely a challenge,” she admitted.

However, Powell said that the city support program and Trinity College accommodation allowed her to go to university.She is studying for a degree DC scholarships for working early childhood educators, called TEACH, Or teacher education and compensation assistance. She attends classes on the same large community center campus as her preschool.

“Most of the time going to class just means going through the parking lot,” Powell explained. “I don’t really need to adjust my work schedule. I don’t have to go crazy from one side of town to the other. Most classes are from 6 to 9 pm, so even if I have to go home, I have time to go back. Home, go back to where I need to go.”

Teacher and child
Provided by Martha’s table.

‘Slow burning fire’

With the current partnership, Trinity and American are looking for students.

They have started to promote, adding their courses to the city’s official list of higher education providers, and advocating More financial support At the city council meeting. However, the deans believe that “organic” marketing will be their most successful strategy.

“Once this is really established, word of mouth will be huge,” Rogers said. “It will start a slow-burning fire, and I hope it will take off.”

The students they are looking for will not necessarily stand out in Trinity. Trinity mainly recruits Women of color, many of whom are low-income earners, from Washington, DC But Holcomb-McCoy said that recruiting child workers from the area would be a “pendulum swing” for the American population.

The university’s school of education tends to recruit young white women from all over the country, many of whom pay close to $50,000 for degrees. In contrast, Early Workforce in Washington, D.C. One in eight Latinos and more than half of blacks, and more than 70% of workers are over 30 years old.

Holcomb-McCoy said: “We are very concerned about ensuring that we have a enthusiastic community,” adding that American faculty and staff have recently committed to becoming An anti-racism learning community“We now see this as part of our mission and vision: to create opportunities for all people to succeed in life.”

Ten years later, if this mission is successful and this vision becomes a reality, the deans stated that every place in Washington, D.C. will provide high-quality early education, and there will be more people of color serving as primary preschool teachers. There will be more children ready to thrive in kindergarten.

“I hope the work we do will have a long-term impact on the city,” Holcomb McCoy said.

She added that if more Washington universities want to put aside the competition and join the effort, then the invitation is public—”it’s not necessarily just us.”

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