NEPC Review: It Takes a Community (Bellwether Education Partners, February 2018) and Pre-K Teachers and Bachelor's Degrees (New America and Bellwether Education Partners, February 2018)
Reports from Bellwether and New America each review the current state of early childhood education (ECE) teacher preparation programs at the community college and university levels. Both raise awareness about the challenges facing the ECE workforce and educational institutions in dealing with the recent policy push to increase the required educational credentials for pre-K teachers. Specifically, these policies elevate the requirement from the Child Development Associate certificate to an associate’s degree or to a bachelor’s degree with early childhood specialization. The reports also illustrate innovative practices that some states and colleges are implementing to improve the quality, flexibility, mobility, and diversity of ECE teachers. They end with policy recommendations for states, colleges, and ECE leaders. The methods consist of simple literature reviews (which generally rely on think tank white papers, as opposed to peer-reviewed journal publications). The reports also incorporate informal interviews with ECE stakeholders and leaders, but the methodology and selection procedures used are unclear. Notwithstanding these limitations, the analyses appear sound and the conclusions and recommendations made are generally reasonable, supported by the relatively limited data available. The longer report from Bellwether on the role of community colleges appears useful for policymakers and the public, due to its depth and effectiveness in presentation. The report from New America is too short and rather awkward in presentation, which limits its effectiveness.