Michigan Adds Certificate for Birth to Kindergarten Teachers
Teacher certificates often span broad grade bands, such as K-5, K-6, or even K-8. To earn these certificates, teacher candidates often spend more time learning content designed for older children and less on early childhood development and early literacy and numeracy. Yet children from birth to kindergarten need teachers with unique skills who have met rigorous preparation standards and qualifications that are consistent across early education settings.
State boards of education can improve early educators’ preparation. For example, the Michigan State Board of Education adopted new early childhood general and special education teacher preparation standards in January 2020, and it added a birth-K certificate that better aligns with classroom needs and helps professionalize the early childhood workforce.
Of all 62 state-funded pre-K programs across the United States, only 37 programs in 30 states require lead teachers to have a bachelor’s degree. Outside these state-funded systems, however, no state requires bachelor’s degrees for teachers in pre-K, and only 11 require a child development associate credential or vocational training. Most states require only a high school diploma, some training, or nothing at all. …