How Increasing Expectations for Teacher Education Will Improve the Quality of Instruction in Head Start Programs

An emerging trend affecting early childhood educators in majority of the states relates to them being mandated to possess higher educational credentials before attending to pupils.

It is a requirement that half of all lead teachers in such Head start programs should at least hold a Baccalaureate degree (BA) in early childhood education or any other related field. When it comes to supporting these teachers throughout the training process is a costly affair. Additionally, such educated teachers need to be given attractive offers in the job market so as they can be retained.

What we can ask ourselves is whether increasing the credentials for these educators is really worth it? The simplest answer to this is…yes. By simply increasing the expectations for these teachers has a direct effect to the classroom quality and a child's learning. It is believed that early childhood educators holding a degree are likely to be more sensitive when it comes to interacting with the children. Considering the fact that the teacher is expected to take up the role of a parent once the child reports to school, the importance of higher education learning can never be overemphasized. 

As we all know, education is a continuous process. We learn new things almost on a daily basis. For a successful childhood development process, a child needs to be in safer hands to encourage nurturing. And what better way to do this than to put them in the hands of highly qualified guardians. For someone who has gone through higher education training and earned themselves a degree in the process, they know a lot of things relating to their degree program. This is particularly important to a child as it means that the knowledge and experience levels can be passed down to them.

California was one of the States that was affected by the legislation that required 50% of all teachers in Head Starts to hold a bachelor's degree. It was a national requirement that by September 2013, half of all Head Start lead classroom teachers should have a degree. Statistically, only 27% of the lead teachers held a bachelor's degree in the 2007-08. As compared to today, the figures back then are quite low. Currently, all Head Starts have attained the 50% mark a fact that can be supported by Rick Mockler, the executive director at California Head Start Association. While acknowledging this, he said, '' Most [program] directors are feeling confident that they’ve reached the 50 percent mark.'' 

To hit the 50% mark, programs in California took full advantage of tuition assistance. These programs are offered by both the federal and state governments and they are aimed at encouraging teachers to pursue Baccalaureate degrees. Majority of the lead classroom teachers enrolled themselves into the program and saw themselves through the training process. It is with such commitment that the transition in California has been such a success. Currently, we have more and more teachers enrolling into the program and bettering not only themselves but also the classroom experience.         

It is believed that head start San Diego has come to acquaint them with the importance increasing the credentials for early childhood educators. For thus reasons, it is hard to find a head start program in San Diego that recruits incompetent/low-qualified Head start program teachers without considering the 50% mark. Most of the teachers attending to the children are highly qualified and could explain the high standards of education experienced in the city. For a child, laying the right foundation in as far as education is concerned is very important. It determines how the child will embrace education in future.   


About the Author
Author: Carla Parker
Carla Parker, a writer who can write about anything from History to Science Theories. She likes to write about education industry, In fact, she has written about these and many more topics for the past five years. Books and articles are her main forte, she also writes poetry.

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