Testimony to House Public Education Committee For HB 1100
We appreciate the depth of quality improvements that are a part of this bill, and the funding attached that would help districts to achieve higher quality. Ensuring use of the pre-K Guidelines, ensuring qualified teacher aides are in place, and including private providers in the plan, are all steps in the right direction that will improve early learning for children.
However, while teacher aides are addressed in the bill, the bill does not address the quality improvements for lead teachers. While a degree is required, the certification that goes with it is EC-6, or Early Childhood through 6th grade.
Many early childhood professionals believe the current certification does not provide adequate training for the needs of preschool teachers and students. The certification is also not in line with national best practices or other states' certification practices for preschool. Most states have certifications focused on pre-K to K, and some up to 3rd grade. It is unusual to have certifications that go into middle school, or even older elementary school, to be accepted in state pre-K programs.