by Jen Olson, Task Force Member
While outreach to the ECE workforce about three professional designations (ECE I, II, and III) is underway, the Task Force has begun unpacking the next P2P component – professional compensation for early childhood educators. Considering the demand facing the field right now, it seems timely to explore ways to structure stable, sustainable future funding and resources to support the workforce, and in turn young children.
At our October meeting, the Task Force heard two presentations – one from Melissa Riegel-Garrett of Vermont’s Child Development Division about current funding streams and the other from Lauren Hogan of NAEYC about what P2P thought future funding of a new system would look like.
Following the presentations, the Task Force discussed the importance of engaging and educating the general public on the value of early childhood education, to build public will. This feels especially momentous as the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked an influx of voices and national attention on the importance of “child care” to the economy. To broaden our understanding, we began a study of recent Vermont reports on funding the ECE system, the national campaign to professionalize nursing, and initiatives in other states to create wage boards.
In addition to professional compensation, the Task Force is discussing other supports the ECE workforce will need to advance as a profession. This approach to support is similar to the way we, as educators, scaffold in our work with children, meeting them where they are now and providing opportunities for learning and growth. We need to understand where the Vermont workforce is now and scaffold the supports to move forward into the future profession.
The Task Force will publish its discussion draft on professional compensation in early 2021 for workforce consideration and feedback. Remember: You have a voice in deciding what our future looks like!