The Role of Community Colleges in Early Educator Preparation

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Anisha Ford examines a report that highlights the important role community colleges play in the preparation of future early educators. Determining how to best prepare early educators for their complex jobs remains a challenge. Education and training requirements for early educators differ across states and programs. But something early educator preparation programs have in common is that the majority of them are housed in community colleges.

Marnie Kaplan of Bellwether Education Partners examines the significant role that community colleges play in early educator preparation in her paper It Takes a Community: Leveraging Community Colleges to Transform the Early Childhood Workforce . She explains that 75 percent of community colleges offer an early childhood or family studies degree and a majority also award Child Development Associate (CDA) credentials. A growing number have even begun awarding bachelor’s degrees in early education. Kaplan’s paper highlights the unique barriers the early education workforce must overcome to access and complete post-secondary education, the important role community colleges play in preparing the workforce, and their limitations in their current form. She ends by offering strategies community colleges can use to lessen or eliminate those limitations.

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