This report lays out the challenges facing the profession and our community that we must overcome if we are truly committed to ensuring every child receives quality early learning. A major focus is recommendations around creating practical, affordable, quality career pathways for those interested in the profession and those in the field who want to continue their education.
We also explore the critical need to attract more persons of color to the field. Black and brown children are entitled to experienced teachers who look like them, and the profession needs the insights and talents of teachers who can help create a racially sensitive and culturally competent workforce. White young children also benefit from learning at an early age that we live in a multi-cultural world. Without a diverse workforce, we will not eliminate the systemic discrimination and racism that disadvantage early educators of color but also young children of color.
As we develop early childhood workforce pathways, our goals are:
• Attract and retain teachers and administrators with the skills and attributes to succeed with
infants, toddlers, and Preschoolers.
• Ensure that Birth-to-5 teachers can earn degrees and/or credentials debt-free.
• Recruit racially and ethnically diverse (particularly Black) candidates and assist them in climbing a career ladder and earning higher wages.
While there are bleak statements in this report that describe the real-world circumstances of educators working in the early childhood field, it must be called out that many are doing amazing work and are successfully teaching and nurturing young children — in spite of the frustrating and exhausting forces aligned against them. These individuals — most of them low-income women, many of them of color — come to work every day because they love caring for and teaching young children. They are rightfully confident in the knowledge that they are positively impacting children — not just in the moment, but throughout their lives — and providing an incredible service for working families and their employers. Without these essential educators, our society would be infinitely poorer.
Our recent Workforce Report was created by Del-Mar fellow and member of the Preschool Promise family, Dr. Debra Braithwaite.