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Improving Professional Development for Early-Childhood Workforce

As policymakers at the state and federal level put more effort into investing and improving early-education programs&mash;especially for low-income children—there's been a parallel uptick in the number of "coaches," "mentors," or "consultants" offering their expertise and services.

That's especially been the case in the realm of early-childhood educator professional development, says the National Association for the Education of Young Children, which has just released a policy brief meant to help states ensure that they get the best possible help when it comes to improving their workforce.

To do that, says the brief, states need to start by establishing common terms for the range of professionals who provide technical assistance on workforce development; set standards and qualifications for such people; establish career pathways and the right level of compensation for them; and finally, develop evaluations of the work that they do to ensure quality. The Washington-based NAEYC, along with the National Center for Children in Poverty at Columbia University, will host a webinar on this issue August 8.

The brief is part of a series of work by NAEYC's Early Childhood Workforce Systems Initiative (ECWSI) to help states improve preparation and professional development for those working in early-education programs.

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