The following research reports and policy briefs support our efforts to identify policy solutions that can increase access to effective educational and professional development opportunities.

Preparing Teachers of Young Children: The Current State of Knowledge, and a Blueprint for the Future

By Marcy Whitebook, Deanna Gomby, Dan Bellm, Laura Sakai, and Fran Kipnis

This two-part paper examines the early care and education (ECE) and K-12 research literature in depth to assess the current state of knowledge about the effective preparation of excellent teachers, and charts a research and policy agenda for the future.

» Executive summary (pdf)

» Comparison of K-12 and Early Care and Education Systems (pdf)

Part I: Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in Grades K-12 and in Early Care and Education: Differences and Similarities, and Implications for Research (pdf)
Part I summarizes the differences between the K-12 and the early care and education fields. We found more than enough similarities to warrant a close consideration of the combined wisdom of both fields.

Part II: Effective Teacher Preparation in Early Care and Education: Toward a Comprehensive Research Agenda (pdf)
Part II contains an in-depth review of our ECE and K-12 teacher preparation research and outlines what remains to be learned. It concludes with a set of key recommendations for research and policy.

Posted 2009.

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

by Marcy Whitebook, Laura Sakai, Fran Kipnis, Mirella Almaraz, Esther Suarez, and Dan Bellm


This report presents the Year 1 findings of the Learning Together study, in which the research team conducted extensive interviews with over 90 percent of the 124 student cohort members, and with 13 administrators and faculty members. The report highlights the striking congruence between the student and institutional perspectives on aspects of the B.A. completion cohort programs that were working well, and on the adjustments or improvements that were still needed.

Download the report (pdf)

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

Posted 2008.

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.

Download the report (pdf)

Posted 2008.

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.

Download the report (pdf)

Spanish Version (pdf)

Posted 2007.

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.

Download the report (pdf)

Posted 2006.

Time to Revamp and Expand: Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Programs in California’s Institutions of Higher Education

By Marcy Whitebook, Dan Bellm, Yuna Lee and Laura Sakai

This report presents the results of an inventory of nearly all (98.5%) of California institutions of higher education that train adults to teach children under the age of five, including certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. programs.

Download the report (pdf)
Executive Summary (pdf)

This study is linked to a national study of Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Programs in the US, led by researchers at the FPG Child Development Institute. Read their national report and state reports.

Posted 2005.

Teacher Credentialing in Early Care and Education: Prospects for Universal Preschool in California, and Lessons from Other States

By Dan Bellm, Marcy Whitebook, Abby Cohen, and Carol Stevenson

This report examines the impact on the early care and education workforce engendered by California’s movement towards universal preschool in 2004. At this critical time the attention of policy makers and program planners turned increasingly toward how to ensure a well-trained, stable, and linguistically and culturally diverse teaching workforce to staff high quality preschool programs. This report discusses the appropriate education and training standards for preschool teachers, the capacity of higher education institutions in the state to meet the growing demand for B.A. trained early childhood educators, and reports on the experiences of other states.

Download the report (pdf)

Posted 2004.

Early Education Quality: Higher Teacher Qualifications for Better Learning Environments – A Literature Review

By Marcy Whitebook

This literature review focuses on eight large scale investigations of child care quality as of 2003 and the relative contribution of the B.A. degree and specialized early childhood coursework to program quality.

Download the report (pdf)
Download the summary (pdf)

Posted 2003.