The No Child Left Behind Act under the Title I provide funding for programs that support the early childhood education of children who are from low income families and are high risk. Many of the programs that are covered under this Act are requiring teachers to obtain their Bachelor's Degree in order to teach in the classrooms. For example, in More at Four classroom the teachers "regardless of the setting, are required to have Birth through Kindergarten (B-K) Standard Professional 2 (B-K SP2) licensure within a specified timeframe to remain in a More at Four classroom. In North Carolina, a teacher who successfully completes an accredited B-K teacher education program graduates with an initial B-K" (Wheeler, 1).
If teachers chose to go on to get the second phase of the standard professional a teacher would have to go through the teacher induction program for three years and during this time the teachers are mentored and evaluated to help with their success. To assist teachers with their education, there is the TEACH scholarships that will pay fifty percent of the costs of tuition and books and you receive release time in order to study as well as a travel stipend. This is a great incentive for teachers to further their education and receive bonuses for completion of 15 hours per year.
According to Continuing Issues in Early Childhood Education, when child care providers have training that includes college credit it increases the quality when accompanied by technical assistance. According to Susan Russell, President of Child Care Services Associate, children of parents with a high school education or lower have fewer vocabulary words by the age of three and those children with parents with a college education or higher tend to have better vocabularies and educational outcomes. "Because early childhood educators act in loco parentis, often with young children 10 hours a day, 5 days a week, it is critical that they are well educated, supported and culturally competent", Susan Russell the President of Child Care Association states.
Programs such as TEACH and WAGES increases the morale and commitment of early educators who want to stay in the field. These programs allow for the higher standards that are becoming relevant in the early childhood field due to the No Child Left Behind Act.
I don't believe that the EDU 119 is enough educational requirements to provide high quality child care, but it is a foundation and a beginning. It will establish the basic information of what children need in an early educator. It will teach these early educators about growth and development of children; health and safety; developmentally appropriate practices; positive guidance techniques; individuality of the child; and culture of families to name a few. If these educators pay attention in these classes and take heed to the information that they receive during class, discussion boards, book reading and from the instructors they will gain a large amount of knowledge and it will allow them to apply it in their classrooms.
The major problem with requiring a considerable amount of education is the fact that regardless of the degree that is behind these early educators; the pay is not reflective of their education. This results in a high turnover rate, because most can go to work for public or private schools and receive a higher compensation. In order to continue to make this an appealing career is to keep programs like TEACH and WAGES. According to Susan Russell, "It is clear that the early childhood workforce wants to increase its knowledge and skills through our nation`s higher education system. The key is accessibility, having the money, the time and the support to make it possible. However, it is both unrealistic and unfair to expect the workforce to go back to school while they are working full time without help and without the promise of better wages and benefits". With the programs that North Carolina the turnover rates are down and now people are able to get their education and continue to work in the child care field. North Carolina's investment in early education is a success to improve quality and retain quality teachers.
In conclusion, requiring education for teachers is not a bad thing, but we have to make it accessible to those who want to make this a career choice. I have been going to school for the past two years and had it not been for programs such as TEACH and WAGES, I wouldn't have been able to complete these courses. This is the kind of support early educators need and deserve. This is also great for parents because they can send their children to child care with a peace of mind.
- Russell, Susan. "Early Childhood Development Services." FDCH Congressional Testimony, 2009. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 6 Jan. 2010.