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Getting Teachers from Here to There: Examining Issues Related to an Early Care and Education Teacher Policy

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Author(s): Debra J. Ackerman

Journal: Early Childhood Research & Practice
ISSN 1524-5039

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Date: 2005;
Original page

Keywords: Early Childhood Education | Teacher Qualifications | Teacher Education | Public Policy | Educational Quality | Teacher Professional Development

ABSTRACT
Most early care and education teachers are not required to have attained a bachelor's degree (BA) prior to working with young children. Because of the research base demonstrating that teachers with a BA specifically related to early childhood play an integral role in the provision of high-quality early care and education, there have been increasing calls for new policies with regard to the educational requirements for those who teach and care for young children. Although instituting a new "BA policy" is a key component in improving the quality of early childhood education, there are various "getting from here to there" issues that would also need to be considered, particularly if the policy's goals include increasing the credentials of the current workforce. This article explores two of these issues: the constraints facing early care and education teachers in improving their credentials and the capacity of teacher preparation programs to support the policy and in turn help create a qualified and knowledgeable workforce. Given that New Jersey has recently adopted such a policy for teachers in its state-funded preschools, findings from studies focusing on this effort are used in order to illustrate these issues. The article concludes with implications for policy makers and researchers in terms of optimizing implementation of a BA policy and ensuring that policy-related supports are working.

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