AACTE's Suggestion for Pre-school Teacher Certification: Another Revenue Returning Business Idea?
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), has called for an overhaul of pre-school teaching practices, and new requirements for the teachers themselves: all preschool teachers have bachelor's degrees in early childhood education.
Is this an attempt by Powers That Be to control and get rich from revenues created at teaching colleges and by textbook publishers at an even earlier stage in the education business?
It's as simple as ABC: Preschool teachers should have a B.A.
By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY. July 28, 2004
Preschool teachers should have at least a bachelor's degree -and get salaries that match those of public elementary, middle and high school teachers, an influential education group says.
In a report issued Tuesday, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) calls for what amounts to a complete makeover of the nation's early childhood education system, urging both private and public systems to raise standards and salaries with the aid of taxpayers, colleges and private enterprise.
"Every university president needs to be out in their communities pressing for early childhood education," says AACTE president David Imig, who calls preschool teachers' salaries and working conditions "atrocious."
Only 35% of public elementary schools last year offered pre-kindergarten classes, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Private programs took up much of the slack.
"The way we do it right now, it seemingly is in lots of parents' self-interest to go on the cheap," he says. "What we are saying is, 'Enough of that.' I think it's got to be a public investment."
Early childhood education groups welcomed the recommendations, which they have been advocating for years - both for private and public programs, such as locally funded pre-kindergarten and the federally funded Head Start. Congress is debating that program's future.
"It's a great day for early childhood (education)," says Libby Doggett of the Trust for Early Education, a Washington-based advocacy group. "Working with young children is very, very sophisticated work. It's not something that someone who has a GED and nine hours of training can do."
Like Imig, she says early childhood teachers' salaries should rise with their training.
"You have to pay people what they're worth - and when you have a person who has a college degree, specialized training in early childhood, they're worth it."
Doggett and others say local, state and federal governments must raise qualifications while helping to keep private preschool affordable for middle-class and poor families. They note, for instance, that since 2000, New Jersey has expanded public preschool for poor children, requiring that teachers earn a college degree and early childhood certification.
Lorraine Cooke, director of Egenolf Early Childhood Center in Elizabeth, N.J., says she has seen "dramatic differences" in teachers who received the training. "They make a learning situation out of every single incident - it's just fabulous."
Egenolf, a private preschool, contracts with the Elizabeth school district to teach 102 low-income children.
But she says the proposal's costs could mean the end of private programs that serve low- and middle-income families - and that government and business support is essential to these families.
"They're not going to be able to afford it," she says.
The report also says teachers of children as old as 8 should get early childhood certification and that licenses be made "portable" so teachers can work in any state.
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