TO: The Honorable Vincent C. GrayFROM: Susie Cambria, MSWDATE: March 12, 2009RE: Issue of concern for UDC and OSSE oversight hearings: Early learningprofessional educational requirementsAs you well know, the skills of adults in early learning environments – child care centers andhomes as well as school classrooms – is an important component of quality. Between 1997and 2007, the early childhood education community in the District rewrote the regulationsfor child development facilities. Believe me -- they were in desperate need of updating! In1997, the regs were 25 years old.What we now have is a regulatory framework that puts children at the center of the issue;as such, all components – from safety to group size to adult training requirements – aredesigned to ensure the best possible and most productive environment for children. By allaccounts, one of the most significant improvements in the regulations was making morestringent the educational requirements for all child development facility staff. Research andexperience clearly and routinely show that the education levels of staff are correlated to theskills of children.
The 1997 regulations
(online athttp://www.osse.dc.gov/seo/frames.asp?doc=/seo/lib/seo/pdf/29_dcmr_3_cdf_nfrm_- _04.27.07.pdf , see page 33)
require that child development facility staff achievecompliance with educational requirements within five years (2012)
. Achievementof the requirement is largely reliant on UDC’s Early Childhood Leadership Institute (ECLI).ECLI and ECLI alone has stepped up to enable the city to achieve its public policy goal of ensuring quality early learning experiences. In addition to offering certificate and degreeopportunities, ECLI administers the District of Columbia's Professional Development Registryand the Trainer Certification Process. Further, ECLI is a thought leader on the issue of earlychildhood and quality. No other institution of higher education in the District has made thecommitment to early learning. While Southeastern has had a program, the cost isprohibitive and the university’s administration has been less than willing to accommodateincreasing numbers of early childhood providers as students. Now, the point is largely mootgiven the status of Southeastern’s future. Finally, Catholic University offers a BA ineducation but not an AA, a degree that is acceptable for certain types of staff members inearly childhood development programs.