We are striving to improve outcomes for young children by ensuring that Minnesota has a diverse, qualified, well-supported and fairly compensated workforce. We want to create an environment that respects and understands the background, cultures, and languages of the children in the system. Teachers are the most important component of a high quality learning experience and we are focusing on supporting the early childhood workforce with the long-term goal of improving the outcomes for children.
Mission: To develop and promote strategies to advance a high quality, equitably compensated early childhood workforce.
VISION: A diverse, qualified, well-supported and fairly compensated workforce, inclusive of existing care and education professionals across settings, that respects and understands the background, cultures, and languages of the children in the system and that is engaged in continuous learning and professional growth.
Public Good. The care and education of young children birth to age 8 is a public good and responsibility as well as a critical component of economic health for all communities. Employers and communities need to come together to support a highly qualified and diverse workforce.
Teaching is a Worthy Profession. Teaching across the birth to 8 continuum is a worthy profession and science indicates that a teacher’s impact is lifelong. Early childhood teachers deserve respect and compensation.
Focus on Children. The best interest of the children should be paramount. Children’s early learning trajectories depend on the quality of their early learning experiences. Teachers need knowledge of child growth and development as well as the requisite skills and competencies.
Disparities Must be Addressed. The racial, ethnic, and income disparities in care, education and outcomes are urgent. The systemic racism in our country and in our state has meant that not all children have the same start in life. Given the growing racial and ethnic diversity of the US population, underserving indigenous children, children of color and children in immigrant families will only create more economic disparities. It is critical to maintain and increase linguistic and cultural diversity in the workforce. It is important to engage and empower diverse stakeholders in the plan development and bring all voices to the table.
Professional Development is Key to Minnesota’s Quality Early Childhood System. The non-credit and the higher education systems in Minnesota need to work together to create pathways for professionals at all levels. Both systems encourage ongoing personal development in the field. Professional development at all levels is informed by scientific research and best practice using the most recent standards. Both systems provide access to professional development in multiple delivery models.
Progress Will Take Time. It will take many years to achieve the vision and therefor it is important to set incremental measures that can inform changes and course correction along the way.
There are 35,000 children under age five from low-income homes who are currently unable to access high-quality early childhood due to the shortage of access funds as well as the shortage of early childhood providers and programs. Supporting and enhancing the early childhood profession will, in turn, support and enhance children’s development. The most important period of brain growth happens in the first five years of life. What happens for children during this critical period matters.
There are deep gender and racial inequities that need to be rectified for the early childhood workforce. The underpaid labor of the women, including a significant number of women of color who are paid even less than their white counterparts, is supporting our economy. Minnesota can and must do better in supporting our early childhood workforce.