Why is the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program needed?
Research has demonstrated that young children perform better when their teachers have obtained or are pursing higher education and are well compensated. Yet, in North Carolina, less than half of teachers of young children have either two or four year degree. Of those that do, few have degrees in child development or early childhood education. Also in North Carolina and all over the country, early care professionals often make little more than minimum wage and receive few or no benefits. This leads to the inability of the field to attract and retain well-educated professionals. High turnover rates, up to 50% in many centers, can significantly impact continuity of care and create attachment difficulties for children.
What is the history of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program?
With $23,100 from five different funding sources, the Child Care Teacher Education and Compensation Program began on July 1, 1990. The pilot project awarded 21 scholarships to teachers working in centers in Wake, Durham and Orange counties, allowing them to attend one of two community colleges to take courses leading to an associate degree in early childhood education. The pilot was immediately successful and additional funding was garnered from two regional foundations to test the model in four other parts of the state. In 1992, the first public funds (from the Child Care and Development Block Grant) were awarded to expand the program into more areas of the state, add family early care programs and create the Model/Mentor Teacher Program. In early 1993, the program adopted the name of the T.E.A.C.H. (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) Early Childhood® Project. Additional federal block grant funds were awarded to make the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® Scholarship Program available in every county in North Carolina, and a special scholarship was created for the N.C. Early Childhood Credential. Other scholarship models have since been added with the additional assistance of the NC General Assembly, the United Way, corporations, and other foundations.
From its beginnings in three counties, T.E.A.C.H. now has participants in 98 of the 100 counties in North Carolina. Almost 32,000 early care professionals and organizations have participated since its inception. One-third of the states’ licensed child care centers have at least one T.E.A.C.H. participant annually. Nationally, twenty-two states are actively operating T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood®, in addition to North Carolina. T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® continued to grow with the creation of the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Technical Assistance Center in 2000.
What have T.E.A.C.H. participants said about the Program?
“T.E.A.C.H. has helped me out a lot with being able to go to school. My ultimate goal is to be a director and I am closer and closer to that goal. Without T.E.A.C.H., I would not have been able to accomplish any of my educational goals.”
Teacher, Durham County
“I started using T.E.A.C.H. back in 2007. Without T.E.A.C.H., I could not have financially afford to go to school. I just recently graduated with my AAS in Early Childhood Education and T.E.A.C.H. was a huge part in helping me reach that milestone in my life. I never had problems with receiving assistance from T.E.A.C.H. and I am forever grateful that T.E.A.C.H. was available to help me. I have told other providers about how much T.E.A.C.H. has helped me and how it can help them as well.”
Family Child Care Home Provider
“The T.E.A.C.H. program has positively changed my life. I was thrilled to be a recipient of this grant, without it, I would not be able to return to school. To this day, my T.E.A.C.H. scholarship has enabled me to earn a four start rating at our center, earn my level 1 (soon my level2) Administration Credential and finally the ability to perform my job in a superior fashion.”