A comprehensive new report by the Center for American Progress examines how teacher effectiveness in preschool through 3rd grade varies as a function of neighborhood, compensation, and state requirements.
Effective teachers have long been proven to be the most important element in a child’s school experience. Measuring overall effectiveness at the preschool level remains a challenge because there are so many variables.
“For example, a 4-year-old in Alabama’s public preschool program is guaranteed to have a teacher with a bachelor’s degree,” according to the report, published in January. “If that same 4-year-old were in a child-care center, however, his teacher may not even have a high school diploma.”
For children who are enrolled in preschool, just less than half of the children in the U.S., access to high-quality teachers also varies. Higher-income children tend to have better access to the most highly qualified teachers. I recommend taking a look at the full report to check out its extensive collection of charts and graphs documenting the differences in teacher preparedness, pay, and availability to students of different stripes.
To level the playing field for all students, the report concludes that teachers must be well-prepared, have continuous access to ongoing training, feel satisfied in their jobs, and be compensated well enough that lack of income doesn’t become an impetus to leave the classroom.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Early Years blog.