Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Study concludes early childhood education in crisis

By Erica Holt, Bay City News Service

August 9, 2006

California's early care and education centers are increasingly threatened due to an aging workforce and meager wages driving high job turnover rates, according to a report released Tuesday.

The University of California at Berkeley and the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, funded by First 5 California, collaborated on a sample survey of the state's some 130,000 workers, mostly women in their mid-forties, who educate and take care of about 750,000 infants and preschoolers.

The study revealed that one in four early childhood teachers in California with a bachelor's degree is age 60 or older and nearing retirement, as the state's population of children's ages 0 to 5 has increased by nearly 15 percent this decade.

According to the survey, the early childhood education teacher turnover rate of 22 percent is twice that of the state public K-12 school teachers.

The study also found wages for early childhood education teachers to be comparatively low.

The average annual salary for centers' highest-paid teachers with bachelor's or advanced degrees is $34,382, nearly $2,000 less than the average California public school kindergarten teacher makes.

"While so many qualified teachers are aging out of the child care profession, low salaries are preventing new teachers from entering and staying in the field,'' said First 5 California Executive Director Kris Perry in a statement.

Only 7 percent of teachers are age 29 or younger and the average tenure is two years for providers licensed to care for four children, and eight years for those licensed for eight children, the study found.

The study's authors conclude that while the educational profile of California's early education workforce is varied, with about 25 percent of center-based teachers having college degrees or higher and others holding lesser degrees, the current levels of education exceed what the law requires.

According to the study, however, this "largely reflects the relatively low standards currently set by California law.''

The study recommends that statewide and locally, plans for professional development should reflect what teacher's need to know to take care of young children and should incorporate the needs of a diverse population.

First 5 California has announced it will invest $150 million to a program to continue development for preschool workers, following the release of the survey.

The Field Research Corporation collected data from a random selection of 1,800 licensed family child care homes and 1,921 centers statewide out of the 37,366 active licensed homes and 8,740 active licensed centers that as of January 2004 were listed with state-funded child care resource agencies.

Copyright © 2006 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa