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Great teachers – starting young children on the path to life-long learning

Early childhood educators and program leaders are key ingredients to quality programming for young learners. The initial preparation and continuous growth and development of the adults in the classroom are essential parts of an aligned and effective system of early education. Research indicates sustained supports are needed to assure that classrooms are staffed by highly qualified adults with commensurate progressions of degrees, certificates and credentials and specialized expertise unique to the birth to grade three continuum.

Selected Resources and Websites

NEW! School and teacher leaders increase student achievement. Here’s how.  While the importance and impact of school and teacher leadership has been widely understood by policymakers and practitioners, the field has lacked a comprehensive, research-based analysis to identify and quantify the specific elements of school and teacher leadership that increase student achievement.


Beyond Ratings: Re-Envisioning State Teacher Evaluation Systems as Tools for Professional Growth is informed by in-depth interviews with leaders in states that have policies requiring teacher evaluation to inform teacher development. It discusses the policies and explores the role of communication, support, and monitoring to support professional growth.

Build it Better: Indicators of Progress to Support Integrated Early Childhood Professional Development Systems is designed to help policy makers, administrators, educators, and advocates work together to build a better professional development system for early childhood educators working with children birth through age 8.

Building Leadership Capacity in Early Childhood Pre-Service Teachers is a small-scale, exploratory study looked at opportunities to build early childhood leadership capacity in school settings. They determined that infrastructure issues and creating home-school partnerships are two challenges in developing early childhood leader educators.

Building a Skilled Teacher Workforce: Shared and Divergent Challenges in Early Care and Education and in Grades K-12 highlights differences between the 0-5 and K-12 workforce. It contains charts that compare the personnel systems for 0-5 and K-12 teachers and calls attention to four cornerstones: human capital development, professional development infrastructure, teaching content, and system finance.

Center on Great Teachers and Leaders is dedicated to supporting state education leaders in their efforts to grow, respect, and support great teachers and leaders for all students.

Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) conducts cutting-edge research and proposes policy solutions aimed at improving how the nation prepares, supports and rewards the early care and education workforce to ensure young children’s optimal development.

Closing the Leadership Gap provides a state-by-state overview and report card to benchmark progress over time in five policy levers that support high-quality program leadership – administrator qualifications in child care licensing, administrator credential, principal licensure, administrator qualifications in QRIS, and Administrator Qualifications in State Pre-K Programs

Degrees in Context: Asking the Right Questions about Preparing Skilled and Effective Teachers of Young Children aims to broaden the discussion about what it takes to develop and maintain effective instructional practices for preschool teachers.

Early Childhood Career Pathways hosts a series of briefs that summarize the findings in the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council’s (NRC) 2015 report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth to Eight. The briefs are intended to inform early childhood programs, states, higher education, and other interested stakeholders to strengthen the support they offer the early childhood workforce.

Early Childhood Higher Education: Taking Stock Across the States highlights findings from inventories conducted in seven states to date–California, Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island–on the extent to which ECE teacher preparation is currently integrated across the birth-to-age-eight continuum, and on variations in field-based practice opportunities for teachers of young children.

Early Childhood Workforce Data: Collection Practices and Possibilities was prepared in cooperation with the Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) Grant Program to provide Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) States with the information they need about reliable data about their workforce. This information will help States make critical administrative, policy, and funding decisions about improving programs and services to children and families and to meet State and Federal reporting requirements.

The Early Childhood Workforce Systems Initiative from NAEYC provides an array of topical information, presentations, briefs and resources from a five year effort to to assist states in developing, enhancing, and implementing policies for an integrated early childhood professional development system for all early childhood education professionals working with and on behalf of young children.

Examining Teacher Effectiveness Between Preschool and Third Grade examines the consistency of children’s access to effective teachers between preschool and third grade—as well as how that access differs by a child’s race/ethnicity and socio-economic status—within three broad factors of teacher effectiveness: qualifications, attitudes, and environment.

Head Start Professional Development: Design Options and Considerations for an Evaluation of Head Start Coaching “present[s] design options for a study that will further investigate evidence for effective and efficient coaching practices.”

High-Quality Early Learning Settings Depend on a High-Quality Workforce: Low Compensation Undermines Quality, a joint paper from the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Education,  discusses the importance of supporting the early learning workforce.

How States Use Student Learning Objectives in Teacher Evaluation Systems: A Review of State Websites provides an overview of how states define and apply student learning objectives (SLOs) in evaluation systems. The research team conducted a systematic scan of state policies by searching state education agency websites of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. to identify tools, guidance, policies, regulations, and other documents related to the use of SLOs in teacher evaluation systems. The researchers reviewed each relevant document to code the requirements, components, and uses of SLOs, which are summarized in a brief report and a series of searchable tables. The report and tables were produced in response to research questions posed by the Northeast Educator Effectiveness Research Alliance (NEERA), one of eight research alliances working with REL Northeast & Islands.

An International Perspective on Early Childhood Leadership focuses on creating a positive work climate, ensuring the organizational conditions that foster professional growth and effective teaching. A recent study in Victoria, Australia provides an interesting perspective when considering these two leadership functions.

Key Competencies for Licensors of Child Care Programs is a technical assistance resource document that outlines the knowledge, skills, abilities, behaviors, and other characteristics that a licensor of child care programs needs in order to perform his or her job duties successfully.

Listen to Us: Teacher Views and Voices summarizes findings from a survey of a nationally representative sample of public school teachers to learn their views on the teaching profession, state standards and assessments, testing, and teacher evaluations.

Mapping Tool and Discussion Guide for Birth through 8 Stakeholders both offer suggestions to help potential partners explore ways to work together to improve professional learning and other supports for the workforce across the early care and education, social services, and health sectors. It stems from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) Report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8 (2015).

Not Golden Yet: Building a Stronger Workforce for Young Children examines California state’s policies for teachers and other professionals in child care, pre-K, transitional kindergarten, and the early grades of the public schools. the report lays out significant obstacles in California’s way and provides recommendations for overcoming them to build a strong workforce of educators for children age birth to eight.

Number and Characteristics of Early Care and Education (ECE) Teachers and Caregivers: Initial Findings from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) is a report, from Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examines a nationally representative portrait of early childhood teachers and caregivers in both home- and center-based settings.

Professional Development Tools to Improve the Quality of Infant and Toddler Care: A Review of the Literature summarizes the state of the field on in-service professional development methods for early childhood caregivers. This comprehensive literature review draws on empirical studies, reviews, and meta-analyses conducted within the past 10 years and websites of leading organizations to identify the most promising methods and practices for improving caregiver interactions with young children. The report highlights methods that are most relevant for supporting caregivers serving infants and toddlers, caregivers with limited education, and caregivers working in home-based and family child care settings. [author abstract]

Professional Learning for the Care and Education Workforce summarizes considerations for planning and implementing high-quality and coherent professional learning for this workforce. This resource stems from the IOM report Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8.

Quality Online Resources and Supports for Educators Teaching the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics describes numerous online resources aligned to two areas of greatest need described by Northeast educators as they gear up to teach the CCSSM: instructional resources and resources that could be used for teacher professional development.

The Relationship between Administrator Qualifications and Family Engagement discusses the methods, sample, and findings from a study by the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership on how directors’ qualifications are related to factors that contribute to family engagement practices in early childhood programs.

Relationships Matter features insights into primary caregiving and continuity of care as well as examples of early childhood organizations and programs that support relationship-based care practices. It also includes a review of  federal and state policies and tools for policymakers.

Reliability and Validity of Inferences About Teachers Based on Student Test Scores: Full Report examines the use of value-added models (VAMs) in measuring teacher effectiveness has been receiving increasing attention as a method to revise or establish teacher evaluation systems. This lecture examines the use of VAMs to measure teacher effectiveness, taking up issues of validity, reliability, prediction power, and potential positive and negative effects.

Resources from the National Survey of Early Care and Education features data, publications, and instruments released from the National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE), which offers the first comprehensive national survey of child care utilization and availability in over 20 years! The NSECE is a set of four integrated, nationally representative surveys encompassing: 1) households with children under 13, 2) home-based providers (including included both licensed/registered family child care providers and both paid and unpaid home-based providers who were not licensed), 3) center-based providers, and 4) the center-based provider workforce.

State Board Insight, a National Association of State Boards of Education database tracking all topics considered by state boards of education each month, has been updated with 2017 data through September. Over the summer, many states addressed teacher shortages and early learning. See the NASBE bloglinks about these two topics.

Talk, Read, Sing Together Every Day offers tip sheets  for families and early childhood educators and caregivers, which were developed by the US Departments of Health and Human Services and Education with Too Small to Fail. The sheets are available in English and Spanish. The tip sheets can help enrich a child’s early language experiences by providing research-based tips for talking, reading, and singing with young children every day beginning from birth.

Teacher Compensation Parity Policies and State Funded Pre-K Programs compares teacher compensation in state-funded pre-K programs, based on data collected for the 2015 State of Preschool Yearbook.

Teacher Talent Untapped: Multilingual Paraprofessionals Speak about the Barriers to Entering the Profession highlights bureaucratic, linguistic, and financial barriers paraprofessionals face in entering the teaching profession. Information comes from focus groups conducted with multilingual paraprofessionals in five cities.

Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation identifies what  what professionals who pro­vide care and education for children need to know and be able to do and what professional learning supports they need. It “offers recommendations to build a workforce that is unified by the foundation of the science of child development and early learning and the shared knowledge and competencies that are needed to provide consistent, high-quality support for the development and early learning of children from birth through age 8.”

A Unified Foundation to Support a Highly Qualified Early Childhood Workforce is the result of this year-long process to identify a unified voice and a set of unified actions that if implemented could advance a highly qualified professional field of practice. Following the report Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation (IOM and NRC, 2015), a group of representatives from national organizations came together in a series of meetings in 2016 to discuss how to work as a unified foundation to support state efforts to improve the quality of the early childhood workforce serving children from birth through age 8 in an aligned and coordinated way.

Workforce Designs, A Policy Blueprint for State Early Childhood Professional Development Systems is a framework to support states and territories in developing their professional development system plans.

Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Childhood Workforce 25 Years after the National Child Care Staffing Study. This study from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment is a follow-up on the 1989 National Child Care Staffing Study, which brought attention to the high turnover rates and poverty-level salaries for early childhood education teachers. The new report revisits the topic of teacher wages and working conditions in light of the dramatic increase in attention to, and investment in, early childhood education in the last 25 years.

ZERO TO THREE Critical Competencies for Infant-Toddler Educators™ provides concrete skill statements and practice examples to help professionals and those that support them successfully bridge the knowledge to practice process.