Reports, Study Group Affirms CDA’s Value and Role in Higher Learning Pathway

January 13, 2021

The Council for Professional Recognition knows its Child Development Associate® Credential is a powerful way for child care workers to further their learning because data and individual success stories back up that claim.

This pathway’s value is further confirmed by the fact colleges and universities often allow students to translate their CDA into college credits toward an associate or bachelor’s degree.

New America, which calls itself a “new kind of think and action tank,” reaffirmed the CDA’s value by highlighting it in its initiative and report “Supporting Early Educator Degree Attainment.” The report presents the findings of a 2019 working group that examined the barriers higher education institutions face to serve and prepare early educators. It also explored opportunities for reform.

The report holds up Miami Dade College as an example to emulate; it offers a multi-language certificate program for pre-K teachers and another for infant and toddler teachers, and students who complete the program are eligible for the CDA. Since its inception in 2013, nearly 100 students have completed the program.

The Council doesn’t have to look any further than its CEO to see the long-term effects of such an initiative. Dr. Calvin E. Moore, Jr., says, “In 1991, I was a teacher’s aide for the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity in Birmingham, Alabama. Acquiring a CDA was a professional development requirement for the teacher’s aide job. Getting the CDA turned into a lifesaver for me. I then developed a passion for working with young children, and that inspired me to continue my education.”

The New America report highlighted the top barriers for institutions of higher education when it comes to serving early educators; focusing on the following:

  • Providing the social, academic, and financial support that this population of students (e.g., low-income, diverse, first generation, part-time) needs to be successful.
    •  The CDA, for example, is a leader in this regard by highlighting available financial aid.
  • Serving the particular needs of this linguistically diverse workforce.
    •  The CDA is offered in multiple languages.
  • Supporting developmental education and general education requirements.
  • Navigating quality and access challenges with clinical experiences.
  • Supporting faculty recruitment and development.

Another New America report, “Youth Apprenticeship in Early Childhood Education,” takes a close look at how the youth apprenticeship pathway can support high school youth and meet the growing needs of the early educator workforce. The report says: “some states impose high professional standards requiring early childhood lead teachers to have a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential, associate or bachelor’s degree, or a state license.”

The Council joins other stakeholders in strongly affirming what New America concludes: “the extent of the benefit of early learning hinges on the quality of care provided, and the quality of care is largely dependent on how well the educator is prepared and supported.”

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