New Research on the Early Care and Education Workforce

The Early Educator Investment Collaborative recently announced the launch of three new research reports that provide a nationwide analysis of trends, gaps, and opportunities facing early educator preparation programs and state competency and compensation policies. The research reports result from a partnership between the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, the National Institute for Early Education Research, and Bellwether Education Partners.

Following an initial landscape review of all 50 states, the researchers conducted a more in-depth review of 10 key states that provided greater detail of on-the-ground experiences and challenges. While the research was conducted before the COVID-19 pandemic, the crisis has only made the situation worse, with many states unsure about how to rebuild the early childhood workforce lost to the effects of the pandemic. COVID-19 has laid bare the consequences of a patchwork professional development and compensation system that isn’t meeting the needs of our country’s children, families, employers, or educators. These research studies illuminate the causes and point toward solutions. The studies provide a wealth of information to not only inform grantmaking strategies, but to shape research, practice, policy, and advocacy efforts for everyone in the field.

The collective findings from these reports can help key stakeholders seize this moment to move forward in a comprehensive and strategic way with new policies that reflect the value of early childhood educators and their contributions.

1) 50-State Early Educator Policy and Practice Research. A comprehensive exploration of multiple areas and issues the field faces to determine why states struggle to make progress for the early educator workforce, where progress should be made, and what barriers need to be overcome.

2) Early Educator Preparation Landscape. A deeper look at educator preparation systems — their role in the early care and education system and why institutions of higher education and states need to take this key component into consideration.

3) Early Educator Preparation and Compensation Policies: Voices from 10 States. A detailed look at on-the-ground experiences on why reform is so difficult, providing insight into how the field makes change, particularly as circumstances become increasingly dire.