Colorado’s expanded preschool program is set to launch in the fall of 2023. But in the midst of a “Teacher Crisis,” the state worked in new ways to get more preschool teachers into the classrooms.
The rules and regulations for early education teachers were revised and went into effect on Dec. 1., changing the qualifications for candidates.
The early childhood professional credential scoring system is broken into four sections of points. The four components are formal education, ongoing professional development, experience, and demonstrated competencies.
Previously, candidates needed to score points from three of the components. The new rules cut that down to two out of the 4 sections.
I spoke with Diane Price, president, and CEO of Early Connections Learning Centers in Colorado Springs. She says the entire teaching profession is struggling and people in her position are having a difficult time filling their early education classrooms.
Price has worked in education for 33 years. She worked on the subcommittee that was looking at teacher qualifications. She says the committee was able to make what she calls “thoughtful suggestions that align many of these different ways in cross walking the experience that is required.”
“If you come out with a degree in education in a public school, you’re a teacher. You graduate, you have a degree, you become a teacher in a public school. In early education, you can graduate with a degree but you still had to have a certain number of hours with experience. So, we begin to talk about, “Were there other ways to count for hours? Because if I have a degree, I should be able to go be a teacher right now and be paid as a teacher,” said Price.
Price says they are still making sure that those who step foot into the classroom as a teacher continue to get the training and resources, they need to be successful.
But how are parents feeling? I had the chance to speak with Christina Winger, a local mother who worked as a preschool teacher for seven years.
“As a parent, I definitely feel a little bit worried, just because I think it’s really important that our kids are in a safe place when they go to school,” said Winger. “I think that there’s a lot of people that are naturally good with children and know what to do without getting a college degree in that background, but I also want to make sure that we don’t lower the standards in the areas of background checking people.”
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