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Reconstructing Teacher Education to Prepare Qualified Preschool Teachers: Lessons from New Jersey

Author(s): Carrie Lobman | Sharon Ryan | Jill McLaughlin

Journal: Early Childhood Research & Practice
ISSN 1524-5039

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Date: 2005;
Original page

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

New Jersey provides a unique context from which to explore the issue of preschool teacher certification and preparation because of the 1998 and 2000 Supreme Court decisions related to the Abbott districts. These decisions ruled that the 30 poorest districts were to create systems of high-quality preschool for all 3- and 4-year-old children beginning in the 1999-2000 school year. This paper reports on the state’s efforts to create a new system of preschool teacher certification and explores how current practices compare to national standards for the content and capacity of high-quality teacher preparation. The findings from this study indicate that it is possible, in a relatively short period of time, to put in place a system of early childhood teacher preparation that has the capacity to upgrade the credentials of the state’s workforce. Lessons from this case suggest that policy makers and teacher educators must focus on the coordination of human and financial resources to ensure equity and quality of teacher education programs.
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