The Value of Education and Preparation: How the CDA Helps Early Educators

December 16, 2021

Each December, people take stock of the year and think of what is to come in the new year. I am no exception.

Working for an organization like the Council for Professional Recognition has been my most rewarding professional experience to date. This year, and for the past two years, we have seen an unbelievable light being shined on early childhood educators. The public’s awareness has also raised appreciation of the challenges we face.

We know the value early educators bring to our country’s overall economy, yet we continue to offer them wages that hardly match their importance. I have been heartened to see the federal Build Back Better Plan includes billions of dollars for states to grow pre-K programs and create the need for at least 40,000 new teachers, according to the National Institute for Early Education Research at Rutgers University.

We have seen the shortage of educators grow, and the Council supports efforts to bring more professionals into the field. We are encouraged to see higher education institutions considering creating affordable degree programs in the field. The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s recent report uncovered some of the barriers for those looking to become educators—the number one barrier is financial.

The Council is proud to share that we have a promising pipeline of early educators looking to join the early education field or better their skill set by earning a Child Development Associate® (CDA) credential. During the pandemic, we saw a steady rate of those looking to earn and renew their CDA.

We see again and again the scientific research supporting the long-term benefits of high-quality early education. Yet, we do not provide a realistic, economically sound pathway for people to make a career in early childhood education.

The CDA provides an accessible pathway for early educators and can help fill a growing need. Aaron “Buddy” Rhodes, a member of the Council’s CDA Advisory Committee, comes from a family of educators. He first realized that teaching was a passion while in high school. As Buddy became older, he knew he was interested in the science of childhood development, but he wasn’t sure what he should do with this interest. Buddy credits the CDA for helping provide a foundational understanding of how he could best work with children.

I am optimistic for the future and believe that 2022 will prove to be an amazing year like no other. The Council looks forward to supporting our network of educators. We will push for more efforts to be focused on those who have dedicated their lives to educating our children.

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