High-quality early learning requires a high-quality workforce with specialized knowledge and skills. State boards of education play a distinct role in developing a well-qualified early learning workforce as they set requirements for core early learning standards, advance workforce credentialing and preparation, and improve professional development opportunities. NASBE has two professional learning opportunities for state boards of education looking to deepen their early learning expertise.
State education agencies (SEAs) and state boards of education can use their policy levers to investigate and influence early education workforce quality in four areas: qualifications and licensure, preparation programs, professional development, and compensation. In addition, they can leverage provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to advance changes in their states. Funded through grants from the Foundation for Child Development and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, NASBE established an early learning network in 2017 led by members of state boards of education from New York, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan, Mississippi, Washington, and Delaware. They were tasked with developing, revising, and adopting policies to support the ECE workforce. They made tremendous progress and showcased state boards’ key role in leading initiatives to advance ECE.
In August 2020, NASBE invited states to join the ECE Network to support a well-qualified, equitable, well-compensated early care and education workforce through effective state policies, with a special focus on developing innovative strategies to mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the ECE workforce. Learn more about the 2020 ECE Network below.
It has these desired outcomes in view:
Upon approval of their applications to join the network, the two selected states will each receive a stipend of $4,000 for the remainder of 2020, with the possibility of another round of stipends in 2021. The project will end December 2021.
THE APPLICATION PROCESS
Proposed areas for policy work could address the health and safety of young children and teachers, distance learning models for preK to age 8, professional development to enable teachers to conduct distance learning effectively, or mitigation of learning loss for young children, for example. States should ensure that proposed projects have at least one policy component to support ECE educators. States can also reference the policy recommendations described in these recent NASBE Policy Updates: Remote Learning in ECE and Supporting Child Care Providers amid COVID-19.
State boards should include state and local stakeholders as team members or partners in their applications. State boards may also consider participants from other state entities: departments of education, health, and family and child care; Head Start; ECE advisory councils; state educator leadership, licensure, and accreditation agencies; leaders and faculty from higher education; and other early care and education stakeholders.
To apply, please fill out the stipend application and email to Winona Hao, director of early learning, at email@example.com. Proposals are due to NASBE no later than COB on Friday, August 28, 2020.
The ECE Workgroup allows state board members to deepen their knowledge of early education issues and learn how they can best-support students’ early success.
The ultimate outcomes of the workgroup are: build the knowledge and capacity of state boards of education in ECE policymaking; state boards directly and effectively discuss ECE topics with national and state experts; state board members have better understanding of system alignment between 0-5 and K-3rd levels; elevate state board’s roles in ECE; connections with key stakeholders from state and local levels; state boards make recommendations; state boards lead conversations and take actions in states regarding ECE.
The workgroup covered a wide range of topics across birth to third grade. Topics included:
Learn more about the ECE Workgroup by contacting Winona Hao, NASBE’s director of early learning.