Is it Necessary for Preschool Teachers to Have a Bachelor’s Degree?
So, let’s get started. Preschool teachers do need to have a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree is required, not an associate’s degree. Why? They require a broad grasp of child development, early childhood education, and related topics. For example, at Jay Sargent Reynolds Community College in Virginia, an associate’s degree (2-year) in early childhood education includes taking 15 courses in early childhood education or child development. Although the program is comprehensive, it only covers the essential or introductory information and abilities that each effective early childhood educator should possess.
Many students in this program complete their associate’s degree and then transfer to Virginia Commonwealth University to get a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education (four years). Students complete their bachelor’s degree by studying a total of 15 courses at Jay Sargent Reynolds and 14 courses at Virginia Commonwealth University. This allows students adequate time to grasp the subtleties of child development and early childhood education, preparing them to be effective preschool instructors.
What states require preschool instructors to hold a bachelor’s degree, and why is this important?
Regrettably, the circumstance I just described is far from typical. Preschool instructors must have a bachelor’s degree in 27 states, an associate’s degree in 34 states, and a high school diploma in 7 states as of 2015. For far too long, we have treated early childhood education as if it were child’s play, something that any high school graduate could perform. This is, however, an outdated approach that harms the growth of our most valuable resource, our children.
We spend much time in high school trying to persuade students not to drop out, while the roots of academic failure were set in early childhood schooling years before. As a result, it is logical to demand highly educated and trained educators to assist students in laying their educational bases.
How do instructors with a bachelor’s degree affect the performance gaps?
We know that disparities and success gaps in the education system begin well before Kindergarten because preschool instructors in low-income communities are frequently less competent than middle-class ones. The dirty little secret is as follows: Even though the state only needs a high school diploma, preschool educators in middle-class communities tend to have bachelor’s degrees.
I’m offended when detractors claim that teaching preschool does not need more than a high school diploma. What world are they on, exactly? They frequently suggest that requiring preschool instructors to have a teaching degree would drive up the cost of child care since daycares and preschools will have to compensate teachers on the same scale as K-12 teachers.
In New Jersey and Oklahoma, research examinations of early childhood programs found that students who were taught by teachers with college degrees performed better than those who merely were taught by teachers having high school diplomas or the equivalent. It will be challenging to persuade professionals with bachelor’s degrees to educate in early childhood education. Why? Because the average compensation for a primary school teacher having a bachelor’s degree ranges from 27,200 dollars to 42,800 dollars, based on the environment and age of the children, and the salary range for an elementary school educator having a comparable college education is 56,100 dollars.
How are we going to get around this? It’s simple: pay preschool teachers the same wage as elementary school teachers. Isn’t this going to drive up the cost of preschool and daycare? Definitely, but I’ve got a solution for you. We provide free K-12 education to all children; why not expand that to PreK-12 and provide free public education to all children, irrespective of their socioeconomic status? Isn’t it the American way of doing things?
Furthermore, assuring that students acquire an excellent educational basis will assist them in being academically successful in their life, later on, assuming that the K-12 system performs as expected. It would also aid in the reduction of dropout rates and the closure of the school-to-prison pipeline. As a result, more citizens would be willing to volunteer to our expanding democracy, boosting our economy. This would lessen the unemployment figure and the number of people who commit crimes to survive financially.
As you can see, mandating all preschool instructors to hold a bachelor’s degree can pay for itself while also benefiting the economy and the residents of the United States.