Sunday, June 13, 2010

What Does It Mean to Be an ECE Professional?

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” -Albert Einstein

As is most of the world, our field it changing and for many this change is hard to take.  At first glance it may appear they do not want to change simply because they are afraid of change, and while for some that may be true there may be more to it than that. For while no one likes change, I think that most ECE professionals recognize that change must come if we are to really offer high quality programs that truly serve children's and family's needs.  But the method of that change is central to whether or not people will accept it.  And many people are not accepting the new director requirements, because of how they perceive it defines our field.

The basic questions is whether or not ECE is a profession or a vocation, and what that means for professional development.  The educational paths are very different, with few exceptions, for professionals than for those in vocations. This is not a judgment, but does reflect a reality of how each is viewed by society at large.  How ECE defines it's professional development will define how society views it, and that will in turn determine the kind and amount of support the field receives.  For example, professionals earn more, on average, than those in vocations, or at least that is a perception.  In general, a profession is, also viewed, as requiring more education than a vocation.  These somewhat abstract definitions have real-world impacts on how much ECE providers earn, and how they will be viewed by the clients they serve.

And many in the field here in Colorado view the new director requirements as putting a premium on certain classes rather than a degree, and for many this is insulting.  I know of several who have Master's degrees in Education, ECE, curriculum who are now being told that they are not as qualified as someone who has no degree and 30 credits in ECE.   But aside from these personal stories is the story of how the public at large views this.  And to put it into perspective- How would you view medicine if you were told that a degree in medicine does not make someone qualified to practice as a doctor, but if they take 30 credits at the community college they are qualified?  Would you want to pay them what doctor's earn now?  How would that change how you view the national debate on health care?

Changing how doctors (or any other field) are educated would, of course, change everything.  Which brings me the quote at the top of this blog:  Will these changes not only create the ECE field we want, but will they also keep the field alive, innovative, and constantly questioning what it is that young children and their families need to thrive?

Here is a link for further reading (sorry I am very limited on the number of links I can post)

PS:  Please respond with your thoughts. This blog is meant to be interactive, a forum for discourse, and not just my ramblings which are rather insignificant in the large scheme of things.  But your comments can make this bigger than just one person.

1 comment:

evaj said...

Kim this is great. I personally agree with the mandated increase in educational levels. The fact is that our field is doing very important work and in order to continue gaining societal respect we need to be up to date with current research and practice. Experience and education combined gives us the power to make changes with the data to back it. Formal education gives us the backing to discuss what we have always known and practiced.