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Report: Improve Workforce Quality by Aligning Pre-k, Child Care

A new social policy report makes the case that improving the quality of early education and child care requires aligning the two as a single profession with a unified definition, standards and professional development.

"Building the Workforce Our Youngest Children Deserve" from the Society for Research in Child Development examines the issues facing the early-childhood care and education workforce.

This report, edited by the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina, builds on an earlier 2012 report on a workshop on the same topic held by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council.

In the new report, authors Holly Rhodes of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council and Aletha Huston of the University of Texas at Austin identify policy goals that they believe will enhance the workforce teaching and caring for the nation's youngest learners.

They note that the quality of care provided by early-education and child-care programs varies greatly due to a number of factors, including employees who are poorly trained and compensated, inadequate job definitions, and separate funding streams for different types of programs.

Creating a quality early-childhood care and education workforce "hinges on building an effective workforce through professional development that promotes the use of effective and evidence-based practices," the authors write. "Improved working conditions would include adequate compensation and opportunities for advancement and recognition."

Since both early-childhood care and education affect children's development, it only makes sense that increasing the skills and training of staff and improving their work conditions could lead to higher quality programs for all kids.

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