The Early Educator Investment Collaborative (The Collaborative) has announced $10.4 million in grants to support partnerships between institutions of higher education (IHEs) and states or tribal nations to transform early educator preparation programs. The Heising-Simons Foundation is a founding member of The Collaborative.
The grant recipients are California State University, Sacramento; College of Menominee Nation; Georgia State University; North Seattle College; University of Colorado Denver; and University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
The grantees will partner with states or tribal nationals to strengthen programs that prepare early childhood education (ECE) teachers through a competency-based bachelor’s degree. They will also collaborate with advocates, organizers, and other agencies/entities with authority over the ECE system to 1) elevate the need for durable funding for ECE students to attend and complete degree-programs, and 2) professionally compensate ECE teachers post-graduation.
Learn more about these grants on The Collaborative’s website.
The need to attract, retain, and financially support ECE students who bring racial, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity to a field that educates and cares for our equally diverse young people is imperative. People of color, primarily women, make up nearly half of the ECE workforce and yet are not provided equal access to higher education, ongoing professional development, or professional compensation––especially in comparison to their peers in K-12, and despite the inherent complexity of their profession.
These structural insufficiencies, which have long affected the ECE workforce, have become exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. A stable, well-compensated, and prepared ECE workforce will not only have an impact on economic recovery post-pandemic, but will also have a profound and direct impact on the learning outcomes of our nation’s children.
Rebecca Gomez is co-chair of The Early Educator Investment Collaborative’s steering committee. The Collaborative consists of a group of early childhood funders working to advance the highest standards of educator quality, support educators’ preparation and professional learning, and achieve professional compensation that reflects the transformational value of early childhood educators. In addition to the Heising-Simons Foundation, other members of The Collaborative are the Foundation for Child Development, Buffet Early Childhood Fund, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Ballmer Group, the Bezos Family Foundation, the Stranahan Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.