Senate Budget Eliminates Early Education Certification

The Senate budget proposal eliminates the Early Education Certification, a professional certification. We certify people who work on our teeth, hair, plumbing and trees and now thanks to S.L. 2010- 178 parents know who is caring for their children. This is not a duplicative process with what a state agency does. This function has been privatized and does not cost the state a dime. The NC Division of Child Development (DCD) must have this data and has already let go of positions that used to perform this function. Those positions are frozen.

DCD no longer accepts education documentation from the child care workforce for facility licensing purposes. This became effective earlier this year and now over 32,000 or 80% of the child care teaching workforce are in the certification system because of the incentives offered through previous state funding (ended December 2010). DCD receives this critical data electronically from the certifying body, the North Carolina Institute for Child Development Professionals, saving our state resources.

DCD will have the additional responsibility of integrating More at Four functions into their work letting the Certification law expire will create a burden and backlog in processing documentation with an already reduced staff. This will require additional state resources and feels like it is setting government up to fail.

1. This law does not cost the state a dime. Funding from state sources invested in researching, developing and implementing the system ended December 2010. Individuals pay for their own professional certification, as all other professions do. The cost is as low as $5/year. ($50 to be certified for 3 – 5 years and $25 to renew for same time period).

2.  This is not unlike certifications for almost every other profession you can think of, but on a simpler scale. Child care teachers in our state are educated, they are professionals and should be recognized as such. Our hair, fingernails, teeth, pipes and even our trees are serviced by people with a professional certification!

3. Over 80% of the child care workforce is already in the system which was seeded by nearly a $1 million in state funds. There are 40,000 people in our state working in the child care industry and 32,000 of them are already in the certification system – parents believe this field is certified; now they are and need to be required to continue to be. Thousands of child care teachers have entered the system for free or at a reduced cost. They have purchased college transcripts, hung certificates on their walls, are sharing their accomplishments with parents, peers, family, they are getting discounts on purchases because they are certified and are reporting some are going back to school and many are participating in training and more — the system is fully developed and supporting the quality of early services that are helping to prepare children for school.

4. The entire community college system has ramped up and is offering CEUs for this population at a very low cost. Federal dollars supported developing 20 low cost CEUs for Early Educators which are available to all colleges to offer via their continuing education departments. Continuing education options are being offered and developed statewide for low cost to no cost from child care resource & referral agencies, Cooperative Extension, health and early intervention providers and more — on average the cost is less than $3 per hour. This is the same cost as training was before certification. The amount of continuing education required is builds on facility licensing requirements.

5. Not only does certification give the recognition these professionals deserve and must be required to have to serve 260,000+ children in our state, it creates efficiencies for our state. We should not be in the business of taking away an incentive to professionalize any field. Children need educated teachers to support young children being ready for school. The Division of Child Development is already receiving electronic transfers of data to support regulating 8,300 child care programs. We cannot ask DCD to do more, taking on More at Four, and now asking them to try to reassess 32,000 people?

6. Certification reduces the need for teachers and directors to submit education paperwork to multiple entities. Certification saves time and money. Early Educators become certified, the certification is portable and usable at any regulated program in the state. It provides point of hire documentation which any center director can use.

7. Discounts are in place for certified Early Educators. EEC Rewards provide reduced priced goods and services through a small but growing discount program offered by industry in our state. This bank of discounts is similar to what our public school teachers have access to.



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9 responses to “Senate Budget Eliminates Early Education Certification

  1. Kim

    Education, training and certification are key to producing quality standards in any field. Why on earth would NC eliminate early childcare certification? Children are our most valuable resource and the future of our state. Maybe some of our elected officials should have to take training and become certified to hold an office in Raleigh.

  2. Stephen

    The elimination is baffling

  3. Christy

    This is ridiclous. I have been a Lead Teacher in a childcare classroom for almost 12 years now! This is a shame, for big people to be able to take away things that doesn’t pertain to them. But, it does deal with the children and their caregivers that care for them. I really don’t believe it.

  4. Karen

    Another piece of paper that has “certification” on it is not going to automatically mean a child is going to get a quality child care provider just like it doesn’t mean that just because a plumber or hair is certified mean you are automatically going to get high quality work. There are many “certified” plumbers that have botched a job as well as “certified” hair dressers that have messed up your hair. There is so much more to quality child care than a piece of paper.

    • Tereas McKay

      Thank you, I have to agree. I have worked with some staff that have all kinds of “certifications” and the way they teach and take care of our children is not any better than the staff with less or no certifiaction. Since when did a person need algebra or some of these other classes the collages have these folks taking. I do believe there should be training for children teachers, but it would be more helpful to have training centers were you work with children as you train. I have worked in child care for well over 20 years and what I know about loving and teaching children didn’t come from a textbook.

  5. Anna

    There are never guarantees in life. However, as a parent and a child care director, I would put my money on a teacher who has been certified through the Early Educator Certification. As a wife of a plumber who is also licensed and certified, he makes it his profession to do his work well. This is the expectation of a teacher or administrator who is certified and their desire. The Early Educator Certification is an important piece of paper that shares my education and commitment to the early childhood field, children and their families. I am a professional and the EEC is recognition for all my efforts and those I work with each and every day.

  6. Beth

    I was very proud to get my teacher certification it was a piece of paper that showed the I was vauled in my profession. For many years people just thought of Early Educators as baby sitting. I went to school an earned a four year degree and a B-K liscence and people still think that unless you teach in the school system it’s not really teaching. The Early Educator Certification is important to show other educators and families that we are educators and care about teaching.

  7. Lurae Anderson

    Burned my certificate!!!! We were lied to about this certification. It was completely voluntary. WE were railroaded. If you work in a licensed center then you have to get your inservice training hours yearly and it is checked by the DCD consultant yearly. Once inspected by the DCD I feel that I am certified to work for another year. The State of NC is out of money. Why would they put such a burden as the EEC on the poorest job market in the state of NC. If you want to do anything for the childcare workers of NC to bring up the quality of their workers, make sure we get our WAGES bonus and increase it. Make sure education for us is affordable. Keep the fat cat
    research folks that sit and dream up such idiotic rules in the labs of Frank Porter Graham because that institution is not the norm.

  8. Anna

    I wanted to address Lurae’s comments. The fact is Lurae, you were never lied to. EEC was a law that went into affect August 2010 and now it expires as a law on July 1. However, EEC will be a voluntary system the day the law expires. If you burned your early educator certificate, then it is unfortunate because you have lost a valuable piece of paper that is met to recognize “you” and your education in the early childhood field. It is a step to recognizing ECE as a profession; and supports those who want to provide high quality care and continue their education in order to better serve children and their families. I agree WAGE$ is important. Your education helps you achieve a higher salary supplement, if you continue to increase your knowledge and skills. Our researchers have determined the importance of education to quality care for children. The children are why we do this work. We need to use our resources to support all who work with or on behalf of young children; and professional development is key to our efforts.

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