We conduct cutting-edge research and propose policy solutions aimed at improving how our nation prepares, supports and rewards the early care and education workforce to ensure young children’s optimal development.

Below is a chronological list of our published reports. You can also view reports related to one of our four core priorities by clicking on the issues above.

Early Child Care and Education: HHS and Education Are Taking Steps to Improve Workforce Data and Enhance Worker Quality

by the U.S. Government Accountability Office

A new study was released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that describes steps being taken toward improving early care and education workforce data and enhancing workforce quality. Using a variety of state and federal interviews and data sets, the GAO examined:  (1) current information about the composition, education, and income of the ECE workforce and how these characteristics relate to quality of services, and (2) what activities and initiatives are underway by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education, and in the states that finance the improvement of worker quality?

Posted February 2012.

The Early Care and Education Workforce: Challenges and Opportunities: A Workshop Report

by the Committee on Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce: A Workshop; Institute of Medicine and National Research Council

In March 2011, the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine hosted, and the Administration for Children and Families of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service sponsored, a workshop with more than 70 participants focused on the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce. A detailed report on the workshop was released that explores issues in defining and describing the workforce, the marketplace of ECCE, the effects of the workforce on children, and the contextual factors that shape the workforce. Presenters examined the challenges and the opportunities that exist in building ECCE as profession. CSCCE Director Dr. Marcy Whitebook was a member of the 12 person Committee on the Early Childhood Care and Education Workforce which provided expertise to the National Academy of Sciences and also presented at the event.

Posted February 2012.

Learning Together: A Study of Six B.A. Completion Cohort Programs in Early Care and Education (Year 4 Report)

By Fran Kipnis, Marcy Whitebook, Mirella Almaraz, Laura Sakai and Lea J.E. Austin

The Year 4 interviews of the Learning Together study reveal that two to three years post degree, nearly 95 percent of graduates remain in the early care and education (ECE) field, and that graduates overwhelmingly report personal, professional and educational benefits as a result of their B.A. degree cohort program. Specifically, graduates report that structural aspects of their B.A. program, such as financial aid and flexible class schedules, were important to their educational success, that the cohort experience continues to provide them with professional support, and that as a result of their degree attainment they now earn more, have advanced in their careers, and continue to explore educational opportunities. Graduates also identified several important areas for programmatic improvement, such as expanding coursework to include ECE public policy and classes on working with adults.  They also discuss workplace characteristics that support or impede their abilities to engage in good practice and to continue to develop their skills.

Executive Summary (pdf)

Full Report (pdf)

Read more information about the Learning Together project, or read the Year 1 report, Year 2 report, or Year 3 report.

Posted February 2012.

By Default or By Design? Variations in Higher Education Programs for Early Care and Education Teachers and Their Implications for Research Methodology, Policy, and Practice

By Marcy Whitebook, Lea J.E. Austin, Sharon Ryan, Fran Kipnis, Mirella Almaraz, and Laura Sakai

Understanding how higher education contributes to teacher performance is a complex undertaking. It requires identifying which variations in program content and delivery are most relevant to student learning and teacher practice with young children. This necessitates appropriate research methodologies that can illuminate key program variations, which are re essential for generating solid evidence to inform policy and practice.

By Default or By Design? Variations in Higher Education Programs for Early Care and Education Teachers and Their Implications for Research Methodology, Policy, and Practice draws upon a case study of two early childhood B.A. completion cohort programs in order to illuminate the limitations of current ways of conceptualizing and studying early childhood teacher education. Focusing on four dimensions— program content, clinical experiences, faculty characteristics, and institutional context—we examine challenges encountered and lessons learned in seeking to understand differences in educational experiences among students attending these two programs. We then offer a series of recommendations for more nuanced ways of describing and evaluating the quality of higher education programs for early care and education practitioners.

Executive summary (pdf)

Full report (pdf)

Posted January 2012.

Staff Preparation, Reward, and Support: Are Quality Rating and Improvement Systems Including All of the Key Ingredients Necessary for Change?

By Lea J.E. Austin, Marcy Whitebook, Maia Connors, and Rory Darrah

As quality rating and improvement systems (QRISs) increasingly become the key strategy for improving the quality of early care and education, it is critical to understand and examine how such systems define quality, the benchmarks used to indicate quality, and the opportunities in place to support improvement. This report examines the extent to which QRISs support the professional development of practitioners and include in their rating rubrics key ingredients — staff qualifications, direct compensation, and the factors related to work settings –  that have been linked to quality.

Download the Report (pdf)

Download the Executive Summary (pdf)

Posted June 2011.

Degrees in Context: Asking the Right Questions about Preparing Skilled and Effective Teachers of Young Children

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment and the National Institute for Early Education Research have jointly published a NIEER Policy Brief, Degrees in Context: Asking the Right Questions about Preparing Skilled and Effective Teachers of Young Children. In this Policy Brief, Marcy Whitebook and Sharon Ryan argue that too much attention has been given to debating the baseline qualifications required of preschool teachers – AA vs. BA. They contend that it is just as necessary to take into account the nature of the education teachers receive en route to a degree, supports for ongoing learning, and the effects of the workplace environment on teaching practice. 

Policy Brief (pdf)

Posted April 2011.