Power to the Profession
Overview: Power to the Profession
Each and every child, beginning at birth, has the opportunity to benefit from high-quality early childhood education, delivered by an effective, diverse, well-prepared, and well-compensated workforce.
There are more than 40 million children birth through age 8 in America. One of the best things our country can do to support and improve outcomes for these children and their families is to make significant, substantial, and sustained investments in high-quality early childhood education.
And because positive relationships are at the core of quality, investing specifically in early childhood educators is the best thing we can do to improve early childhood education. That is why Power to the Profession is focused on equitably advancing an effective, diverse, and well-compensated early childhood education profession across states and settings.
Power to the Profession is a national collaboration to define the early childhood profession by establishing a unifying framework for career pathways, knowledge and competencies, qualifications, standards and compensation. Read the Press Release announcing the initiative here.
Our children live in an increasingly diverse world, and they both need and benefit from a workforce that reflects and embodies that world. As such, when our current systems cause hardship to educators, they can also harm children and their families. The inverse is also true: When our systems help educators, we help children and their families.
In 2015, The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council released their seminal report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth Through Age 8: A Unifying Foundation, which highlighted the urgent and important need for a collective effort to address the fragmented early childhood workforce.
What are the goals of Power to the Profession?
The theory behind Power to the Profession initiative is this: In order to receive the significant and sustained public investments that would allow all children to benefit from high-quality early childhood education, early childhood educators and stakeholders must agree on some clear, foundational elements of the diverse, effective, equitable, and well-compensated profession we all want. This foundation is built on the concept that children and families will benefit from having:
a distinct early childhood education profession (Decision Cycle 1)
with specialized knowledge, skills, and competencies (Decision Cycle 2)
which are acquired through a primary pathway of professional preparation and deployed with varying depth and breadth, across all states and settings (Decision Cycle 345)
leading to educators whose compensation reflects the value of their highly skilled work (Decision Cycle 6)
with accountability structures, resources, and supports in place to build and sustain the profession so it reflects the diversity of the young children it serves and reduces the impact of structural barriers such as institutional racism, sexism, classism, elitism, and bias (Decision Cycles 7 and 8)
Who is guiding this initiative?
This is an all-in initiative. We need everyone’s perspective and voice to be heard in this conversation - and we need the voices of the profession itself to be front and center.
A National Task Force of 15 national organizations who represent and engage with large groups of early childhood professionals meet regularly to deliberate and come to consensus on shared recommendations for advancing the early childhood education profession. Over 35 national organizations with systems-level influence on the early childhood profession help inform and guide the work of the Task Force as Power to the Profession Stakeholders.
Thousands of early childhood educators, researchers, experts, and other invested individuals have contributed to this process by participating in a wide variety of events, including:
Key informant interviews
Our Implementation Commitments
The result of Power to the Profession will be a Framework for a Unified Early Childhood Education Profession and will require significant, sustained, and targeted public investments to become a reality. As we turn toward implementation, we pledge the following:
We will not advocate for increased educational requirements without advocating for funding to provide requisite supports and attendant compensation;
We will not advocate for new regulations without advocating for funding and time to implement the regulations;
We will not advocate for policies that disproportionately and negatively impact educators from communities of color;
We will advocate for policies that mitigate unintended consequences and create meaningful pathways for advancement; and
We will advocate to establish and implement timelines that recognize the challenges faced by the existing workforce to realistically meet new regulations and requirements.
We will advocate for implementation plans and timelines that recognize the particular challenges that family child care and other community-based providers face so as not to contribute to or worsen their widespread decline.
How can I get involved?
Learn more about how you can be part of the movement and involve others to help shape the profession. Sign up here to receive updates that include opportunities to be a part of the conversation. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is funding it?
Power to the Profession is being supported by the Alliance for Early Success, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Foundation for Child Development, Richard W. Goldman Family Foundation, W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, and W.K. Kellogg Foundation.