Our region has a severe shortage of high quality early childhood educators and needs a robust pipeline of quality early childhood educators to start our students off with a solid foundation for success in school. The Commit! Partnership is advocating for legislation that will give the Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) the ability to create a high quality Early Childhood 4 year degree.
SB1810, authored by Senator Royce West, and HB3836, authored by Representative Helen Giddings, would allow select junior community colleges, including DCCCD, the ability to offer a 4 year Early Childhood Education bachelors degree.
The vision is to create a branded partnership early childhood institute at DCCCD that will attract substantial private and public dollars and expertise from our region.
- The institute will have an advisory board that will include local ISDs who will develop career pathways for graduates at those ISDs AND provide a feedback loop on graduates’ performance so we can assess the effectiveness of the institute’s teaching programs and continually improve.
- The institute will include clinical labs on the 7 DCCCD campuses to provide both hands-on teacher training AND childcare for DCCCD students’ children to support student progression towards degree completion.
How you can help:
- Please contact Senator West (512-463-0123; Royce.West@senate.state.tx.us) and Representative Giddings (512-463-0953; firstname.lastname@example.org) to express your support for these bills.
- Please contact Senator Kel Seliger, Chairman of the Senate Higher Education Committee, (512-463-0131, email@example.com), and Representative Zerwas, Chairman of the House Higher Education Committee, (512-463-0657; John.Zerwas@house.state.tx.us) and request that these bills be set for a hearing.
- Email Gretchen.firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to add your organization’s logo to our legislative one pager supporting these bills.
The Data Supporting the Need:
- The total number of new EC-12 teachers hired by public school districts in Dallas County and the adjacent counties that touch Dallas County was 6,800 in 2013-14. Our schools of education in those same counties collectively produced only 2,200 new teachers (roughly 30%), creating a 4,600 teacher gap.
- That substantial gap will only widen significantly if we are successful in increasing preK funding at the state level in order to increase both quality and the availability of full day. It won’t matter what funding we achieve if we haven’t concurrently added to our pipelines for new teacher preparation.
- The bill as proposed first gives area higher ed institutions the opportunity to come up with a plan that would be presented to Dallas County public school districts to solve the substantial existing gap in new teachers (i) hired with EC-6th grade certifications by area public school districts and (ii) produced by area higher education institutions. Only if (i) they do not come up with a plan acceptable to area districts or (ii) they come up with an acceptable plan but fail to execute it, can DCCCD move forward with offering baccalaureate degrees.
- The offering of early childhood education degrees by DCCCD will cut into the market share currently being filled by alternative certification providers, the vast majority of which are of poor quality offering little in the way of clinical experience or ongoing coaching and who are not set up to convey best practices in ECE. It will not cut into higher education demand.
- DCCCD has agreed to “open source” the curriculum developed within the Early Childhood Institute, making it available to every higher education institution locally to improve the quality of their offerings.