Economists, researchers and educators agree — early childhood programs are the most cost-effective way to ensure children’s healthy development and academic success.
The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) focuses on one critical aspect of the equation: the early childhood workforce. CSCCE conducts research and policy analysis about those who care for and educate young children, and examines policy solutions aimed at improving how our nation prepares, supports and rewards early educators to ensure young children’s optimal development.
This summer, CSCCE issued a new report (“The Early Childhood Workforce Index”) that provides the first-ever comprehensive state-by-state analysis for early childhood employment — complete with an interactive map detailing qualifications, compensation and other critical components in each state and the District of Columbia.
A multi-year project intended to shine a steady spotlight on the early childhood workforce in the U.S., the Index establishes a baseline for each state, allowing CSCCE to track progress and give states periodic appraisals of their efforts to address these persistent workforce challenges. The report also offers practical policy solutions that policymakers, business and labor leaders and educators can use to address the well-documented crisis of low wages and economic insecurity among early childhood teachers and the lack of affordable, high-quality services for children and families in the U.S.
I was proud to serve on the advisory committee for this study. This work serves as a sobering wake-up call — no one has successfully addressed the five critical policy categories outlined in this index, so as a nation, we have a lot of room for innovation. We need to pair the knowledge obtained from this study with explicit action. At the Bainum Family Foundation, we are doing just that. We support practice, policy and research to improve early learning and make a difference in underserved communities in the District of Columbia and beyond. Learn more about our five-year strategy.
This June 2016 report from the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services (“High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce: Low Compensation Undermines Quality”) provides more on the important link between the quality of early learning and the compensation of its workforce.
Locally, some of our partner organizations have been looking at the same issue. Here are their reports from earlier this year:
- “Solid Footing: Reinforcing the Early Care and Education Economy for Infants and Toddlers in DC” from the DC Fiscal Policy Institute and DC Appleseed
- “Modeling the Cost of Child Care in the District of Columbia – 2016” from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education