THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL CLEARINGHOUSE ON EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAM LEADERSHIP
For more than 30 years the McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University has been dedicated to building the leadership capacity of the early childhood workforce. However, addressing the need to increase the competency of early childhood program leaders in all sectors of the field has been compromised by limited information and irregular data collection across the states. The 2012 National Survey of Early Care and Education1 did not report on the demographics of program leaders. Knowledge about the roles, qualifications, and status of the leadership workforce is highly siloed and largely determined by the specific reporting requirements of respective agencies, resulting in intermittent studies of segmented groups of program leaders such as elementary school principals or Head Start directors. Therefore, a comprehensive, cross-sector resource regarding early childhood leadership is needed to fill this void and to support early childhood system-building efforts.
Initial support and funding for the project was generously provided by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
The L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Collaborative
In 2016, the Leadership Education for Administrators and Directors (L.E.A.D.) Early Childhood Collaborative launched an initiative designed to identify and close the program leadership gap. This initiative will recommend key leadership competencies that address both content knowledge and skills needed by administrators to ensure developmentally appropriate outcomes for children, establish efficient program operations, and support working families’ need for access to high-quality early learning and care. The overarching goal is to offer an actionable response to the 2015 National Academy of Medicine report, Transforming the Workforce for Children Birth through Age 8,2 which calls for a unifying foundation for the early childhood leadership workforce across states and industry sectors. The McCormick Center developed the L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Clearinghouse to enhance this initiative.
How the L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Clearinghouse Addresses the Need for Data
The L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Clearinghouse has been created in response to the need for better data on the early childhood leadership workforce. This resource makes available accurate and accessible information for decision makers, policymakers, advocates, scholars, leaders, teachers, students, and other impacted individuals through an interactive website. Data about policy levers to improve the early childhood leadership workforce, state standards, and programs that educate, train, and support individuals who lead organizations serving children birth through age eight is accessible through the Clearinghouse. It is built on a technology platform and infrastructure that allows users to easily access national and state data from a single site. A comprehensive data management system is housed on a National Louis University server and protected by robust firewalls.
Where does the data come from?
Multiple sources were accessed to contribute data to the Clearinghouse. The McCormick Center conducted a thorough national scan to identify potential sources of information. For some elements, reliable data were available in compendia or directories. However, for many of the elements, data were not available or were found in disparate reports or studies in siloed sectors or geographically-segmented portions of the early childhood leadership workforce.
The McCormick Center reached out to key organizations and established partnerships for collecting and sharing data. The Center also conducted a brief national survey of state regulatory agencies of child care programs to gather specific information about administrator evaluation and professional development. Data were accessed between August 2016 and April 2017. However, the time periods for when the data were collected varied by the source.
Throughout this website, the sources of specific statistics are cited. State reports (e.g., states’ workforce studies and Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge performance reports) frequently referenced early childhood administrators, but the data were reported in inconsistent ways. Data from the state reports were reviewed to confirm findings from more comprehensive sources. The following key partnerships or resources provided major portions of data for the Clearinghouse:
- New America
- National Workforce Registry Alliance
- L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Collaborative
- The Goffin Strategy Group
- National Association of the Education of Young Children
- National Center for Education Statistics, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics
- QRIS Online Compendium
- National Center on Early Childhood Quality Assurance
- Child Care Aware of America
The McCormick Center’s Leadership Team is grateful to the following organizations that contributed to the development of the L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Clearinghouse:
- McCormick Center Advisory Board
- New America
- National Workforce Registry Alliance
- Goffin Strategy Group
- LEE Policy and Advocacy Summer Fellows
McCormick Center Committee
- Michael Abel, Director of Research and Evaluation
- Teri Talan, Michael W. Louis Chair and Senior Policy Advisor
- Lindsey Engelhardt, Marketing Manager
- Giovanni Arroyo, Media Specialist
- Kathy Wildman, Business Analyst
- Melissa Newkirk, Consultant
L.E.A.D. Early Childhood Collaborative
- M.-A. Lucas, Consultant
- Sherry M. Cleary, Executive Director, New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, The City University of New York Office of Academic Affairs
- Sue Russell, Executive Director, T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood National Center
- Roger Neugebauer, Founder/Executive Director, World Forum Foundation
- Teri Talan, Michael W. Louis Chair and Senior Policy Advisor, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University
- Michael Abel, Director of Research and Evaluation, McCormick Center for Early Childhood Leadership at National Louis University