Premium placed on education for D.C.’s child-care workforce
Hundreds of child-care workers in the District are heading back to school to meet new education requirements that are among the highest in the nation.
Meanwhile, 17-year old Tyonna Stinnie, an aspiring early childhood teacher, graduated from Capital City Public Charter School in June with a head start.
Along with her diploma, she earned a Child Development Associate (CDA) certificate, considered a baseline credential in the field and one many child-care workers lack.
She took part in a new cityfunded career and technical education program called “First Step” that aims to build a pipeline of highly trained workers who can help transform the qual- ity of care and education for the District’s youngest learners.
“We have an opportunity unlike any other place in the country,” D.C. State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang said.
While most states and cities are focusing scarce early education resources on expanding access to public prekindergarten programs, she said, the District has a public preschool program available to all 3- and 4-year-olds and is now looking to invest in quality programs for infants and toddlers.
A central part of that mission is improving the skills of childcare workers, many of whom are paid minimum wage and have little more than a high school degree. Researchers say the job of teaching children under age 3 — a time when their brains are