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Early Education Workforce Study

Introduction:

During the course of our work on the Voucher Study it became increasingly clear that there were other issues, beyond the scope of the voucher study, that impact the quality of early education and care and warranted investigation. These issues are compensation, professional development, access to higher education, and communication throughout the field.

The goals of this study call for increased education for those in the field, coupled with efforts to improve compensation.

Research Methods:

In 2009, BTWIC held town meetings throughout the state:

  • Springfield, February 2, 2009
  • Boston (2), February 21 and March 7, 2009
  • New Bedford, March 18, 2009
  • Cape Cod, March 30, 2009
  • Worcester, April 25, 2009
  • Lowell, May 14, 2009
  • Lawrence, May 27, 2009

These town meetings brought together center directors, teachers, family child care providers, and some parents to discuss the current state of the field, including professional development, compensation and benefits, education requirements, and communication in the field and allow participants to share their professional experiences, challenges they face and suggested solutions. 603 people within the EEC field and some parents attended the town meetings. 468 members of the EEC field (including most of the town meeting participants) filled out our 2-page questionnaires, which included open ended and closed questions. Attendees included for-profits, non-profits, head start staff, public school staff, resource and referral agency representatives, and part and full-time employees.

Findings:

The report found that poor compensation is the largest stressor for educators and the principal barrier to accessing higher education. The lack of appropriate compensation causes personal and professional stress, embarrassment, and low morale and affects children who rely on continuous care from educators who feel valued and equipped for success.