DC now requires child care workers to earn a degree by the end of 2020. How would it affect child care costs? Should caring for preschoolers REQUIRE a degree?
This year, Washington D.C. is implementing a new requirement for child care workers: a college degree. Workers in the child care field have until the end of 2020 to earn an associate’s degree for a lead teacher position, or a bachelor’s degree for a director position. Scholarship programs funded by local and federal dollars are helping some of the low-wage workers pay tuition they otherwise would find it difficult to afford with their typically-low pay.
Arguments for the new requirement center around providing a higher quality of education for children before they reach kindergarten, and a high number of functionally illiterate workers currently caring for preschool children.
Critics of the new law argue that the program will drive up the cost of child care while contributing little to children’s educational needs, and regulating people out of entry-level positions they can currently obtain, just because they can’t afford college or can’t finish college.
Placing this argument in context, while there is talk of increasing educational requirements for these workers, elsewhere standards are being lowered for teachers. At least in New York, literacy of teachers is apparently “negotiable,” and doesn’t necessarily need to be quantified by testing. Since teachers must have degrees, this also shows that a degree does not guarantee greater knowledge or competency.
Are higher educational requirements a good idea for child care workers?
What other kinds of jobs might see a similar push for a degree?
Are we placing too much, or not enough, emphasis on degrees in the current culture?