As Indiana’s state-funded pre-K program continues to expand, attracting and retaining qualified teachers must be a top priority, a new report from Early Learning Indiana finds.
According the Indiana’s Early Learning Advisory Committee, the state is facing a projected 8,195 shortfall in early childhood care and education teachers by 2026. With this in mind, the “Mile Markers: Teacher Education Requirements, Skills & Compensation” brief examines state and national-level research on the impact of college education on teacher quality and the experiences of other states and communities. The brief also makes recommendations for changes to increase teacher education, support and compensation, all with the goal of improving child outcomes.
Specfically, the report urges:
- Creating of different pathways for early childhood teachers to earn a degree
- Embedding teacher education standards into existing state programs
- Developing and maintaining a comprehensive professional development system
- Working to raise wages of early education professionals
- Examining and implementing forthcoming recommendations from national studies on financing the early education workforce
“We know that as a child’s brain develops in those early years, having a highly-trained teacher educating and engaging them is the best investment we can possibly make,” said Julie Goldsberry, Early Learning Indiana’s Acting CEO. “That’s why demanding higher education levels for all early education teachers, offering different and more affordable ways to gain the required skills and improving overall teacher pay and support is so important. We can’t maintain or grow a top quality early learning system without it.”
This is the fifth in a series of in-depth policy briefings examining different challenges and opportunities surrounding Indiana’s On My Way Pre-K program. The series supplements Early Learning Indiana’s “On the Road to Pre-K Expansion” roadmap, which was released in June.
Funded through a grant from the Joyce Foundation, the full issue brief and additional reports can be viewed here.