While the child care workforce is more racially and ethnically diverse than the K–12 teaching workforce, “people of color are disproportionately concentrated in lower-status and lower-paying jobs in certain settings and have limited representation in administrator and director roles as well as teacher educator and other leadership and decision-making roles in the field,” according to the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. One of the primary concerns with increasing the education and training requirements for center directors is that it will further reduce the existing diversity in the workforce. Requiring expensive bachelor’s degrees without opportunities for scholarships or substantially higher compensation could discourage early childhood educators making low wages from pursuing leadership roles.
Some states have policies in place to make higher education and training more accessible for the early childhood workforce. Many states offer T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood scholarships that help teachers and leaders earn college credits, degrees, and credentials. The scholarships often cover most of the cost of tuition and fees, and recipients often benefit from a wage increase. Center directors are eligible for T.E.A.C.H. scholarships. One state, Louisiana, is taking a different approach. Center directors are encouraged to participate in the administrator’s ladder of the Louisiana Pathways Child Care Career Development System to increase their education in early childhood and administration. Participating directors who work in publicly-funded centers can receive fully refundable School Readiness Tax Credits ranging from $1,600 through $3,300 annually. Higher levels on the career ladder lead to larger tax credits. However, starting in 2018, these tax credits will instead be tied to the quality of adult-child interactions and instructions in classrooms. While these efforts are not targeted towards increasing diversity among center directors, they may encourage people to pursue leadership positions who might not have done so otherwise.New America’s Finding:
No states reported initiatives with the primary purpose of increasing diversity among center directors.