As the District of Columbia takes a national leadership role with its new early childhood workforce requirements, representatives from the District’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), the Council for Professional Recognition, the National League of Cities and other non-profits met to show their support for these new requirements and discuss how best to support teachers,manage training costs, increase diversity,and improve quality. This meeting was one of many collaboration efforts OSSE is engaged in as part of its rollout for the updated licensing regulations.
During the June 7meeting, hosted by the Council for Professional Recognition, the group agreed that a consensus must be built around public investment to meet these new requirements in the short-term and to retain well-trained early educators in the long-term. The group noted that the enhanced requirements will target early childhood educators in approximately 465 licensed child development centers and homes in the District.
OSSE’s final rule making on child development facility licensing requirements was released Dec. 2, 2016, after considering input from the public. In 18 months from today, the first deadline of the new requirements will go into effect. All Home Caregivers, Associate Caregivers and Assistant Teachers must have Child Development Associate Credentials by December 2018.
“We are focused on ensuring consistent quality in all child development settings and are looking for the right models to provide a sufficient long-term investment in our youngest children,”said Elizabeth Groginsky, OSSE’s assistant superintendent of Early Learning. “The District understands that cost is and will continue to be a driver in improving early childhood education.”
Education scholarship funds are available through the District’s “Child Development Associate –Training Scholarship and Promotion Program” and other sources that help reduce the cost or cover the entire cost early educators may face in meeting the new educational requirements and timeline.
Valora Washington, CEO, the Council for Professional Development, which administers the CDA credential stated that the new workforce education requirements are an important part of OSSE’s overall effort to improve early child development, curriculum and teaching methods in early education.
“The City of Washington, D.C. is way ahead of the curve in terms of working to improve the quality of early childhood education. We’re pleased with their scholarship program for new CDA training and higher education and know that compensation will be addressed,” Washington said. “We also need to help parents and policymakers understand that supporting young children is a community responsibility. This will require more public investment because there are very few parents who can pay the full cost of high-quality care, yet early childhood education benefits everyone.”