Play community college An important role in our country’s education and workforce training systems: broadly 38 percent All undergraduate students are enrolled in two-year institutions and 49 percent of college graduates Spend at least some time in community college Before earning his degree. Often overlooked historically, the important role community colleges play in providing access to higher education and training – particularly to low-income and non-traditional students – has received increased attention in recent years. But here is something you may not know: Community colleges also play an important role in shaping the education of the literate learners of our country.
This is not because antisocial children are taking admission in two-year colleges in our country. Rather, these institutions play an important role in providing education and training for teachers and caregivers who work with young children. majority Two-year institutions of early childhood degree programs are located in the United States, and Three-fourth community college Offer any type of early childhood or child development program at the national level. And in addition to degree-granting programs, community colleges also play an important role in providing workforce training and professional development for early childhood workers.
The affordability and reach of community colleges make them an attractive option for early childhood workers who have full-time jobs, often earning low wage And often have their own families. Yet the same factors that motivate early childhood workers to choose community colleges may also pose challenges to their success. Even minor tuition can be a struggle for childcare workers who Earn, On average, $ 9.77 per hour. Those returning to school after years in the workforce, or whose native language is not English, may be required to take developmental or English language courses before enrolling in early childhood research. And childhood workers who take just one course at a time, or drift in and out of higher education due to work and family obligations, may struggle to assemble courses in a coherent sequence, or those themselves Can enroll in courses that ultimately do not contribute to reach their career and professional goals.
Supports dedicated mentoring, flexible course scheduling and offering courses in languages other than English, can help reduce these barriers and support beginner child workers to pursue degrees, as There may be innovative models for rethinking therapeutic course work and combining developmental and early childhood courses.
But many community college early childhood programs lack staff capacity and resources to provide this support. And, broadly, state and federal higher education policy initiatives aim to keep education institutions accountable to serve students and taxpayers, to actually invest in early childhood and other programs for community college leaders Can produce dissatisfied people who prepare graduates in socially important but low jobs. . Perhaps most troubling, there is little research or evidence on the quality of early childhood preparation programs or their impact on students’ learning abilities. There are certainly some community colleges that do an excellent job of preparing current and future early childhood teachers – but The research The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment and others suggest that curricula, clinical experience, and faculty qualifications often vary widely across institutions (as it also does). truth For 4-year college childhood programs).
We can do better. As shown in my colleague Marney Kaplan New paperCommunity colleges around the country are implementing innovative support, advising structures and taking initiatives to help early childhood teachers succeed in community college curricula. Institutions and states are creating policies for higher education that ensure that community college graduates can pursue a 4-year degree. And states, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations and community colleges are offering themselves scholarships and financial aid dedicated to early childhood educators pursuing higher education. Yet none of these practices are sufficiently comprehensive to meet the needs in the field.
Proposal More early childhood teachers are required to obtain a bachelor’s degree and specialized training in early childhood education is a hot topic debate. But the reality is that most childhood educators in the United States do not have a bachelor’s degree, and even if a bachelor’s degree becomes the norm for head teachers in some early childhood settings, many hold positions Directly affecting the learning of young children, such as teaching assistants present in almost all centers and school-based early childhood classrooms will not require such credibility. But many states require early childhood teachers to complete at least some specific postsecondary training (often less than an associate’s degree) to play various roles in licensed childcare or preschool programs. Early childhood teachers often earn these credits in community colleges. And well-designed policies and support can help these courses become further learning and become on-ramp for degrees.
For example, early childhood programs have the potential to be a powerful tool to enhance the skills and knowledge of early childhood workers in a community college. But only if we give them the attention and resources they deserve.