Children across the nation lack access to high-quality pre-K programs that can support their development and build foundational skills for elementary school. The pandemic set pre-K enrollment and funding back further, with an enrollment decline of nearly 300,000 children and state spending remaining relatively flat. As children and families return to public pre-K, state policymakers must focus on investing in program expansion and strengthening quality. Those efforts should start with a pre-K teacher workforce that is well prepared and fairly compensated.

Teacher preparation is quickly changing, with new models emerging to develop more accessible, affordable, flexible pathways. We will describe four of these approaches: allowing community colleges to confer bachelor’s degrees, supporting paid work-based training through registered apprenticeships, funding grow-your-own programs that remove barriers for teachers within communities, and encouraging institutions of higher education (IHEs) to collaborate on developing aligned, articulated pathways.


Preparing Pre-K Teachers: Policy Considerations and Strategies





Also In this Issue

Five Trends Shaping the Teaching Force

By Brandon Harrison, Daniel Stuckey, Elizabeth Merrill, Gregory Collins and Richard M. Ingersoll

State policymakers looking to increase recruitment and retention should keep an eye on these long-term trends.





The Uneven Landscape of Teacher Preparation

By Leslie T. Fenwick

State statutes impede students' equitable access to profession-ready teachers.





A Data-Driven Approach to Staffing Schools

By Hannah Putman and Heather Peske

Lowering teacher standards may fail to solve actual pipeline problems and can create new ones.





Licensure Tests as Barriers to the Profession

By Victoria Van Cleef

States should explore better means of assessing teachers' classroom readiness.






Teacher Preparation for Whole-Child Design

By Jennifer DePaoli and Ryan Saunders

State leaders have a role in ensuring that educator preparation both models and reflects the science of learning and development.





Teacher Recruitment and Retention in Missouri

By Paul Katnik

State leaders commit to efforts to attract and keep teachers in the classroom.





Ensuring Equity in Grow-Your-Own Programs

By Conra D. Gist

State-level criteria for programs' design can yield better outcomes in preparing and retaining diverse teachers.





Creating State Education Systems That Value Student Cultures

By Tanji Reed Marshall and William Rodick

State boards can set the stage for learning environments that connect and engage all students.






Preparing Pre-K Teachers: Policy Considerations and Strategies

By Amaya Garcia and Cara Sklar

Four practices to increase the pool of skilled early educators stand out as promising.







Featured Items

Multiracial group of teachers walking in school hallway. Image credit: iStock i

Strengthening the Principal Pipeline through State Leadership Academies

Missouri, Delaware, and North Carolina have developed evidence-based professional learning for current and prospective school leaders to increase their effectiveness and reduce turnover.
A multi-ethnic group of seven children standing in a row in a school hallway, laughing and smiling at the camera. The little boys and girls are kindergarten or preschool age, 4 to 6 years. i

State Advances in Early Childhood Education Seed Plans for 2024

In 2023, several states made significant strides toward universal pre-K, increased funding and support for early educators, and improved literacy and math instruction.
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Curriculum That Counts

Authors in this issue of the Standard draw lessons from a spectrum of state policies that are being used to increase the adoption of high-quality curriculum.

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