The early care and education (ECE) field is paying special attention to elevating the educational requirements of early educators and simultaneously increasing compensation. New America’s new Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education: A Multimedia Guidebook highlights a vision to strengthen financing for ECE in the United States and adds context to important concepts discussed in Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education (National Academies Press, 2018). Explore this resource for key takeaways, videos, interactive tools, infographics, and other materials explaining approaches to ECE financing. The section, “Current Financing for Early Care and Education: Financing a Highly Qualified Workforce” provides in-depth information on the ECE workforce.
ECE professionals who are well-prepared, appropriately compensated, and professionally supported produce enriched learning environments that can strengthen outcomes for young children. As the Guidebook reveals, the ECE workforce has contended with insufficient salaries and the cost of attaining higher education. Dedicated ECE educators bear an unacceptable financial burden as a result of inadequate compensation across settings, especially as compared to K – 12 education.
In addition to compensation, the Guidebook further explains that scholarships and other financial supports are crucial to ensuring equitable access to higher education for the ECE workforce. As the demand grows for higher credentials, it is essential that efforts to finance high-quality ECE systems also include funding and supports for the workforce to obtain higher education.
With the Guidebook, policymakers, higher education administrators and faculty, and early educators may now delve further into what it will take to build effective ECE financing systems. In particular, the “Lessons Learned from States and Other Countries” section discusses actions states have taken to better support a highly-qualified ECE workforce through increased compensation and professional development.