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Who’s teaching our youngest students? Teacher education and training, experience, compensation and benefits, and assistant teachers

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From capitols to classrooms, policies to practice: State-funded prekindergarten at the classroom level -- National Prekindergarten Study
Gilliam, Walter & Marchesseault, Crista
Publication Date: 
30 Mar 2005

Excerpts from the press release:

Seven out of ten teachers in state-funded prekindergarten programs earn salaries in the low-income category and one in six works a second job to make ends meet, according to a just released report from the National Prekindergarten Study.

The study is the first ever to explore how effectively the mandates of state prekindergarten programs are implemented at the classroom level. Among the findings: It is not uncommon for prekindergarten teachers to lack the basic educational credentials required by their state. One in four prekindergarten teachers does not have a bachelor's degree.

During the last two decades, the number of states funding prekindergarten programs has more than doubled and many state programs have grown exponentially. "Along with that growth have come disparities between state policy and what is actually happening in the classroom, says the reports lead author," Walter S. Gilliam of Yale University. "When we look past state policy mandates and into the classrooms, we often see a picture of underpaid, under-qualified teachers."

The report addresses findings related only to teachers. Other reports will be released as other data from the National Prekindergarten Study are analyzed by Gilliam and his research associate Crista M. Marschesseault. A total of 3,898 prekindergarten teachers were surveyed from all of the nations 52 statewide prekindergarten systems in 40 states. (Ten states do not fund prekindergarten.) The study has an overall margin of error less than 2 percent. The study questioned teachers on all aspects of prekindergarten: access, characteristics of children served, classroom setting, class size, curricula and comprehensive services.