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Teaching Our Teachers: A Push for Early-Ed Professionalization

October 5, 2017
Dino Flammia
New Jersey 101.5

You want your young child to have the best education possible, but what abut the people educating them?

There’s a continued push in New Jersey and nationwide to professionalize the preschool and child-care staff that handle our children from birth through age 5.

“All kids can benefit when teachers better understand how they learn,” said Cynthia Rice, senior policy analyst with Advocates for Children of New Jersey. “The research shows a better educated teacher means a better quality classroom.”

According to Rice, the state has much to learn from its own nationally-recognized universal preschool model in 30+ low-income communities. In the districts, a bachelor’s degree is required among teachers, and scholarships were offered to help achieve that standard.

“There’s thousands and thousands of children in this state that live outside those communities,” Rice said, noting that going back for an education is no easy feat for these staff members because they can’t afford to pay for it.

“We need more access for teachers beyond state-funded preschool,” she said. “Scholarships are key.”