March 1, 2018
The National Academy of Sciences in the United States has released a free report highlighting the fact that the way early years education and care (ECEC) is financed does little to develop the workforce that cares for the young. Additionally, current ways of financing ECEC allow access to high-quality ECEC to a fraction of the population.
In recognition of these issues, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine were asked to convene experts to study how to fund ECEC for children birth to kindergarten. The report focuses on entry into care that is accessible, affordable, high-quality and includes a well-qualified and supported workforce.
A series of recommendations are presented in this report, two of which focus on financing the development of the early years workforce.
In the summary of this report you can find the following recommendations.
Recommendation 7: Because compensation for the ECE workforce is not currently commensurate with desired qualifications, the ECE workforce should be provided with financial assistance to increase practitioners’ knowledge and competencies and to achieve required qualifications through higher-education programs, credentialing programs, and other forms of professional learning. The incumbent ECE workforce should bear no cost for increasing practitioners’ knowledge base, competencies, and qualifications, and the entering workforce should be assisted to limit costs to a reasonable proportion of postgraduate earnings, with a goal of maintaining and further promoting diversity in the pipeline of ECE professionals.
Recommendation 8: States and the federal government should provide grants to institutions and systems of postsecondary education to develop faculty and ECE programs and to align ECE curricula with the science of child development and early learning and with principles of high-quality professional practice. Federal funding should be leveraged through grants that provide incentives to states, colleges, and universities to ensure higher-education programs are of high quality and aligned with workforce needs, including evaluating and monitoring student outcomes, curricula, and processes.
You can download a free copy of Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education from the National Academy of Sciences website.