Report on the Work of the Early Childhood Education

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					Report on the Work of the Early Childhood Education Standards Committee

                                         May 19, 2009

Charge:

In October 2008, Commissioners Michael Meotti and Mark McQuillan appointed an Early
Childhood Education Standards Committee to implement the recommendations of the Early
Childhood Workforce Committee. The Early Childhood Workforce Committee called for at
least 50% of the teachers in state-funded programs to have a bachelor’s degree from an approved
program leading to a Credential and the remaining teachers in state-funded centers would have
associate degrees from approved programs leading to a Credential.

Committee:

The 23 member Standards Committee with representation from two-year institutions, four-year
institutions, the Departments of Higher Education, Education and Social Service, and the early
childhood community, has met regularly, since last December. Dr. Merle Harris and Dr. Regina
Miller guided the work of the Committee. A final report with the Committee’s recommendations
will be completed by the end of June.

Current workforce:

The following chart provides the context of the work of the Standards Committee. It shows that
a large percentage of the current workforce will need to engage in additional education if the
state is to meet new educational requirements.

                           Current Requirements         New Requirements           Current
                                                                                  Workforce

  Public Schools            BA and Teacher cert.           No change              BA & above

  Federal Head Start         50% AS,50% CDA        2013: 50% BA, 50% AS         31% BA

  State funded programs      CDA and 12 credits    2015: 50% BA, 50% AS         25% AS
  (SDE/DSS)                                        & new credential
                                                                                44% (550) have
                                                                                neither



Competency-based:

The first task of the Committee was to identify the competencies that would be expected for
candidates earning the new credential. The Committee constructed competencies for both
associate degree graduates (Level A) and bachelor’s degree graduates (Level B). Students who
graduate from approved programs will be prepared to meet these competencies and will be
awarded an Early Childhood Teacher’s Credential at the appropriate level.
                             New Early Childhood Teaching Credential

   Rationale: To insure that teachers in community based programs have the skills to
             teach children birth through age 5.
o Competency based – 2 levels (BA and AS)
o Higher education programs to be approved by the Department of Higher Education and the State
  Department of Education




Higher education programs:
In addition to the competencies, the Standards Committee is recommending that all of the
associate degree programs be NAEYC accredited. The approval process for four-year programs
will call for evidence similar to that which is required in the NAEYC accreditation process. The
Committee is also recommending requirements for field experiences and the length of the
student teaching practicum.

Other recommendations to be made by the Standards Committee:

      Worksite practicum: A process for those in the workforce earning bachelor’s and
       associate degrees to do their Student Teaching Practicum at their work sites. This will
       require that the individual is working in a NAEYC accredited center, in Head Start, or a
       kindergarten program. It also will require a mentor in addition to the classroom teacher
       and the faculty supervisor.
      Seamless articulation: An articulation plan to ensure that students completing an
       approved associate degree can continue at a four-year institution without losing credit or
       repeating work. The goal is to have the transfer student graduate with the same number
       of credits as the student who started at the four-year institution as a freshman.
      Alternative pathways: An Expedited Pathway to insure that teachers in the workforce
       with associate or bachelor’s degrees in the appropriate discipline and three-years of
       experience will be awarded the Early Childhood Teacher Credential by the 2015 date and
       a provision for those in the workforce with a degree in another field, plus 12 early
       childhood credits and three-years of experience to earn the credential through a process
       that allows them to demonstrate competencies. There also will be an Alternate Pathway
       (similar to the Alternate Route to Certification) for those who have degrees in other fields
       to earn the credential. This will encourage “career changers” to enter the early childhood
       workforce.
Challenges:

Higher education programs: Connecticut’s 12 community colleges each have an Early
Childhood Education program and they are all in the NAEYC accreditation process. However,
Connecticut is lacking four-year Early Childhood Education programs. The challenge is to have
these programs developed and approved by 2012 so that Connecticut will be able to have at least
50% of its teachers with the Level B Credential by the 2015 date.

Compensation: Early childhood teacher salaries must increase so those entering college at
eighteen will pursue early childhood education majors.