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Why CDA?
August 22, 2014

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
-Groucho Marx


The Council for Professional Recognition recently published a white paper, "Why CDA? Why Now — A Focus on Competence."  Here is an excerpt:

"For the 1.8 million members of the U.S. early care and education workforce, the realities of teaching are paradoxical.  On one hand, government entities across the federal, state, and local levels are spending billions of dollars annually to enhance early care and education programs.  Yet, many early education staff have relatively low levels of education, with two in 10 having a high school education or less.  

"Efforts to advance early care and education must confront this reality by supporting the professional development among its practitioners.  In this respect, many efforts have focused on increasing the education requirements of early educators.  Today, for example, 66 percent of Head Start teachers now have bachelor’s degrees.  In addition, state Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) include career lattices that recognize increased education levels...

"Since 1975, the field has relied on the Child Development Associate™ (CDA) National Credentialing Program to form the foundation of professional development.  The CDA represents expert consensus about what early educators should know and be able to do in the classroom.  For this reason, it plays a significant role across the spectrum of early childhood settings in the United States, from employer-sponsored child care to federal-government based entities such as Head Start and military-sponsored child care programs.  The CDA is also included in many state level QRIS systems and a wide range of community-based services for young children and their families.  Given its national stature, the CDA credential is portable across states and school districts nationwide.  It is competency-based, multilingual, and adaptable to any setting where young children are enrolled.  And, the CDA has stood the test of time — more than 325,000 people have earned the CDA credential, with 20,000 new and 18,000 renewal CDAs awarded in 2013 alone."

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Displaying All 2 Comments
Cindy Kern
Richmond, Va, United States
08/22/2014 09:58 am

I have been teaching CDA Classes for ChildSavers for over 10 years. It has been my experience that low income providers that get their CDA usually move up in status in the daycare ( from assisstant to lead or asst director to director) ,receive an increase in pay or find a better paying position because they have earned their CDA.I find it most rewarding especially for those students who maybe did not do well in school or could not afford to go to college . I have had students of every age . My oldest was 72 and my youngest 18. It really provides a sense of accomplishment that some of these ladies and gentlemen ( yes I have a few male students) have never felt before andfor some they begin to realize that college is a possibility.

Denver, CO, United States
08/22/2014 06:49 am

It is always extremely frustrating to me that discussions of early childhood quality focus on state quality standards and staff qualifications, but none of them focus on the fact that most people who work with young children get horrible pay and benefits! When is someone going to realize that the most important part of quality early education is the teacher, and quality teachers must get paid and must get adequate benefits. How many state QRIS systems use teacher salaries and benefits as indicators of quality? How many provide an administrative ceiling that cannot be exceeded? (The number of programs that pay workers next-to-nothing but administrators big salaries is appalling).

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