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NASBE Builds an Alliance of Network States to Strengthen Early Childhood Education Workforce

For Immediate Release: June 13, 2017
Contact: Renée Rybak Lang, 703.740.4841,

NASBE Builds an Alliance of Network States to Strengthen Early Childhood Education Workforce

Alexandria, Va. – The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) has awarded four states—Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, and New York—grants totaling $14,000 each over two years to investigate and improve early childhood education workforce conditions in their respective states. Funded through a grant from the Foundation for Child Development, this project reignites NASBE’s early learning work and establishes a state network tasked with developing, revising, and adopting early childhood education policies that other state boards can replicate.

State boards of education play a distinct role in developing a well-qualified early learning workforce. In general, state boards set requirements for core early learning standards, advance workforce credentialing and preparation, and improve professional development opportunities. Network states will focus their efforts on educator competencies and certification, educator preparation programs, educator career pathways and professional development, and educator evaluation.

The Iowa State Board of Education plans to work with the Iowa Department of Education to define early learning standards for every K-3 classroom and implement policies and initiatives to strengthen Iowa’s early learning workforce. A key part of this work includes developing knowledge and skills-based professional learning for K-3 educators that is aligned to early learning standards and ensures teachers are competent and feel supported in teaching the early grades.

Michigan’s state board will develop a framework to strengthen the state’s early childhood education workforce. It will promote alignment across the early learning and elementary grades and include a plan for monitoring and evaluating progress throughout implementation.

Nebraska’s state board will expand training opportunities for teachers, principals, and other administrators with responsibilities for educating children from birth through third grade.

The New York State Board of Regents intends to increase the knowledge and competencies of its workforce by developing a unified, competency-based early educator preparation program that addresses the diverse needs of children in their early years. In addition, the state will build a professional development system for the early education and early care workforce.

“Improving the quality of the early learning workforce and ensuring a better-aligned system to support education for children from birth to age eight is vital work for state boards,” says NASBE President and CEO Kristen Amundson. “Through their collaborative efforts, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, and New York will provide leadership in early childhood education state policymaking.”

NASBE has been deeply committed to advancing early childhood education for at least three decades. With its influential task force report “Right from the Start” in 1988, its “Caring Communities” report in 1991, and the creation of its Early Childhood Education Network in 2006, NASBE has been collaborating closely with state boards, state education agencies, and other state agencies to help states create an infrastructure that will support the delivery of quality services to children and their families.

NASBE’s Early Learning Network is funded through a grant from the Foundation for Child Development, in collaboration with National League of Cities and the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Learn more about the network and opportunities for getting involved by contacting NASBE Project Manager Winona Hao.

The National Association of State Boards of Education represents America’s state and territorial boards of education. Our principal objectives are to strengthen state leadership in education policymaking, advocate equality of access to educational opportunity, promote excellence in the education of all students, and ensure responsible lay governance of education. Learn more at


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