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Policy Analysis

Creating and Supporting a Highly Qualified Workforce during Pre-K Expansion


February 13, 2020
GG Weisenfeld and Lori Connors-Tadros

One of the goals of pre-K programs funded by states is to support the learning and development of young children. Research finds that only high-quality programs can achieve positive, long-term outcomes in areas such as student achievement, educational attainment, personal and social behavior (e.g., reductions in crime), and adult health and economic productivity.1 Teachers are not only a strong, but also a direct determinant of the quality of a preschool program.2 As states plan for expansion of public preschool programs, the working conditions, qualifications, and compensation of the current workforce need to be addressed as well as strengthened to recruit future pre-K teachers who are highly-qualified and prepared to meet each child’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development in partnership with parents.