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Early education is a disaster in U.S., study finds

July 8, 2016
Economics and FinanceGovernance and AccountabilityQuality and CurriculumState & LocalWorkforce
Lauren Camera
U.S. News & World Report

Policies in all 50 states fall short of addressing the issues.

Early childhood education in the U.S. is a disaster, and policies in all 50 states and the District of Columbia do little to address the low wages and economic insecurity among teachers and the lack of affordable, high-quality services for children. Those are the findings at the heart of a new report released Thursday by the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley – the first comprehensive state-by-state analysis of early education employment conditions and policies.

“Early educators’ skills, knowledge, and well-being are inseparable from the quality of children’s early learning experiences,” said Marcy Whitebook, director of the Berkley center and one of the study’s authors. “But states are failing to provide the combination of appropriate compensation, professional work environments, and training teachers need to help children succeed.”

Among many other things in the 120-page report, early education policies across the U.S. fall short on a number of measurable indicators, including pay, professional development, paid planning time, paid sick leave, and other policies that impact the ability of early educators to teach effectively and remain on the job.