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"It's hard to conduct research on effective ways to train preschool educators because of the lack of standardization in their preparation and in the programs that employ them." This is the conclusion of a December meeting at Georgetown University attended by early childhood education researchers and reported in Education Week (December 16, 2009; www.edweek.org). Other points made at the event:
Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education: "We're trying to get out of the catch-up business. If early childhood education is glorified babysitting, we're not changing people's lives."
Kathleen Sibelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, called for an increase in the quality of early childhood programs, stressed the need for greater financial investment in preschool programs, and observed, "We sure don't put the resources behind it."
Barbara Thompson, director of the children and youth directorate of the office of family policy at the Defense Department, noted that 98 percent of the DoD centers are nationally accredited, and that to maintain that level of quality "you do need standards and oversight — a constant review of the program." She also observed that without the level of professional development provided to DoD's 15,000 child care staff "we wouldn't have the quality we have."
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