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 Childhood Educator Competencies: A Literature Review of Current Best Practices, and a Public Input Process on Next Steps for California

Editor, Dan Bellm

By request from First 5 California and with support from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, we conducted an extensive literature review in 2007 on current best practices across the United States for defining early childhood educator competencies—the appropriate knowledge and skills for working effectively with young children. We also solicited feedback broadly from California’s early care and education field on the appropriate structure and content of such competencies for our state. This report compiles our research and the input received from the field.

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Posted January 2008.


Diversity and Stratification in California’s Early Care and Education Workforce

By Marcy Whitebook, Fran Kipnis & Dan Bellm

Using data from the California Early Care and Education Workforce Study, this policy brief finds that the ethnic and linguistic diversity of California’s Early Care and Education (ECE) workforce is stratified by educational level and job role. In other words, diversity is disproportionately concentrated in some areas of the field. The brief discusses the implications of these findings for workforce development, higher education, and the ability of ECE programs to address the needs of diverse children and families.

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Posted January 2008.


Disparities in California’s Child Care Subsidy System: A Look at Teacher Education, Stability and Diversity

By Marcy Whitebook, Fran Kipnis & Dan Bellm

Using data from the California Early Care and Education Workforce Study, this policy brief focuses on disparities in staff professional preparation, stability, and diversity between licensed child care centers that receive public funding solely through vouchers, and those that receive it through a contract with Head Start or the California Department of Education.

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Posted January 2007.


Chutes or Ladders? Creating Support Services to Help Early Childhood Students Succeed in Higher Education

By Kara Dukakis, Dan Bellm, Natalie Seer, and Yuna Lee

This report looks at the challenges facing the growing number of “non-traditional students,” particularly in the early care and education field. It notes the wide range of supports often needed by these students and spotlights a number of promising efforts to address the many barriers to attainment of BA degrees. The report contains recommendations for institutions of higher education and communities wishing to provide targeted support for early care and education students to improve their success in school and beyond.

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Spanish Version (pdf)

Posted January 2007.


Roots of Decline: How Government Policy Has De-Educated Teachers of Young Children

By Dan Bellm and Marcy Whitebook

This report analyzes labor trends for the early care and education workforce over the past 25 years – notably, an overall decrease in educational qualifications, and persistent wage stagnation – in the light of federal and state policy, and makes a series of recommendations for reversing these downward trends. Losing Ground in Early Childhood Education: Declining Workforce Qualifications in an Expanding Industry, 1979-2004 by Stephen Herzenberg, Mark Price, and David Bradley (2005) is the paper that prompted this policy analysis.

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Posted January 2006.


Clearing a Career Path: Lessons From Two Communities in Promoting Higher Education Access for the Early Care and Education Workforce

By Kara Dukakis and Dan Bellm

This report documents recent groundbreaking efforts in Alameda and Santa Clara Counties, CA, including challenges faced and lessons learned, as a guide for other counties and institutions seeking to improve professional development in the early care and education field.

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Posted January 2006.