To enhance the quality of early childhood education, and provide better economic opportunities to early childhood educators themselves, states should create Charter Colleges of Early Childhood Education. These research-driven, flexible, and accountable institutions would help increase the supply of high-quality early childhood educators, provide those workers and their families with stable, well-paying jobs, and create a new model of higher education and credentialing that can be applied to other fields.
A growing body of research demonstrates that high-quality early childhood education has tremendous potential to improve children’s and families’ lives. Spurred by this research, as well as growing demand for childcare to enable parents to work, policymakers have seized on early childhood education as a strategy to improve student achievement and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. Yet despite increasing public investment, only one-third of American preschoolers have access to publicly funded pre-K or the federal Head Start program, and preschool quality is often low.