Council Letter

December 13, 2023

Dear Colleagues,

The Council shined brightly in the course of 2023. The stars were aligned to put a spotlight on our work as child care continues to recover from COVID. Child care closures during the pandemic made it clear that the economy depends on having enough of the qualified early childhood teachers America’s working families need to be productive. Recent polls have shown that most voters and business leaders feel access to quality, cost-effective child care is essential, and that’s giving politicians the impetus to build up the early childhood workforce. During the past year, there’s been a surge in funding for the CDA® as state and federal lawmakers seek to ease the ongoing child care crunch.

Growing support for our credential has led the Council to assume more of a starring role in the policy arena, as Dr. Moore tells us in his latest blog. This year we issued our first independent policy agenda, where we endorse ways to boost access to CDA training and recognition for the credential in state regulations—guidance that is gaining traction. The Council is also partnering with the Maryland State Department of Education to provide $1 million in funding for educators to earn or renew their CDA. And Council COO Andrew Davis recently testified at the Massachusetts State House in support of a bill to set up apprenticeships that allow high schoolers and working educators to earn their CDA.

Andrew was also among the speakers at our 2023 Early Educators Leadership Conference in Houston, where we boasted a record turnout. The conference offered a wide array of options for meeting the needs of young children and the educators who serve them as we work to drive change in our profession. With the pandemic in the past, the conference served as a venue to innovate, inspire and impact the early childhood community nationwide. ECE leaders learned how in the Lone Star State as they heard from stars of the early childhood profession.

Now the Council has a new star since this year we awarded our millionth CDA to Jada Vargas, a recent high school grad and member of the Apache Tribe. Newly minted CDAs like Jada can look forward to bright careers, according to the CDA Credential Holders Survey that came out this fall. The survey showed that owners and directors are more likely to hire someone with a CDA than someone without it since educators who succeed in earning their CDA are more prepared for the classroom. CDA holders are also likely to earn more and gain promotions than their non-credentialed colleagues. So, increasing access to the CDA can make ECE a more attractive career at a time when educators are in such short supply.

Expanding access to the CDA also promotes the Council’s enduring goal to increase equity in early learning. And we’ve made our mission even more clear in the third edition of our CDA textbook, Essentials for Working with Young Children, which came out in 2023. In the new, updated Essentials, we’ve put our previous content through an equity lens and honed our focus on how to use the microcosm of the classroom to make a macro impact by giving children a sense of social justice when they are young.

This was also the mission of Shinichi Suzuki, as you’ll learn when you read our review of Suzuki: The Man & His Dream to Teach the Children of the World. The original goal of the Suzuki Method of music instruction was not to produce little prodigies on the violin, a common misconception nowadays. Instead, Suzuki wanted to spark a revolution in education, based on the idea that talent is not an innate trait. Practicing and repetition are the keys to mastering any skill, he proposed. And environment, not genetics, is the key to unlocking all children’s potential. Every child’s talent could be nurtured, Suzuki maintained, so that “all the children around the world shine like little stars”—a belief we at the Council also embrace. In the coming year, we’ll continue to shoot for the stars as we advance our valued credential. There’s a growing belief that CDA holders know how to bring out the promise in every child.

With high hopes for 2024,
The Council for Professional Recognition


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