Not surprisingly, workforce development is a key issue now in education. More and more students are looking to their high schools for the skills they need to find meaningful employment when they graduate and school districts are responding with programs to meet the needs of their students and the community.
Recently, the Council for Professional Recognition introduced a new opportunity for high school students to earn a Child Development Associate Credential (CDA) while still in high school, rather than having to wait until they are 18 and have graduated. This is exciting news, meaning that students can be credentialed and workforce-ready upon graduation.
Along with the excitement comes some apprehension on the part of high school teachers who will now be responsible for taking their students through the credentialing process. They may have heard about what is entailed, but have no real experience with the Professional Resource File, the Competency Goal Statements, or understanding what happens at the Verification Visit. Additionally, some of what they’ve heard may be hearsay. They need some support and accurate information, so they can provide the best instruction and mentoring possible for their students. Without it, these teachers may very well take a pass.
Another issue would be the teachers who still use a child development curriculum tied to older “Home Ec” or “Consumer Science” models and are hesitant to switch over to Early Childhood. The material covered in these classes meet some of the required subject areas for CDA, but not all. School districts who want to their high school programs to get on board with the CDA opportunity will need to convince these teachers to change curriculum. Perhaps you are in this position… what are your thoughts?
Yet another dilemma is funding for the CDA application fee. Right now, this fee is $325… a lot of money for your typical high school teen. High school teachers know that unless their students get help paying this fee, they can’t afford to apply. What this means is a lot of effort expended to get their students ready to apply for a CDA, just to have them drop off at the end and never get the credential. Some highly motivated teachers who see the value in having their students finish have come up with various and creative ways to help fund the application fees, including rummage sales, spaghetti dinners, community babysitting nights, and more. I’m sure those who are in this situation would love to hear about how others are dealing with this problem.
As with many new opportunities come new challenges. Let's brainstorm some solutions and share strategies so our high school sudents can take advantage of what the Council has to offer.