The state is cutting off future enrollees for scholarships childcare workers use to get the credentials they need to teach. This comes as the state’s new voluntary pre kindergarten program is set to begin next month. Teachers who are already enrolled in the federally funded TEACH scholarship program may continue, but the state cut off the applications June 30. Under the new pre k program the state requires a minimum of one teacher in every classroom to have at least a Child Development Associate or CDA. Since 1999, 18,000 teachers have used the TEACH program to earn that CDA, or higher degrees in early childhood education. But Gladys Wilson, with the state’s agency for workforce innovation – which runs Florida’s pre k program – says it wants to study the current program before letting it continue.
“We knew we couldn’t afford to increase the amount so what we wanted to do was just to take a breather, look at who was in the program, how many are getting what they need and how long before we got more people involved in the program. We have no intention of ceasing helping people with scholarships. We just wanted to evaluate it and make sure we were getting the best bang for our buck with the way we were presently providing scholarships.”
The TEACH program either gives workers a bonus when they earn their certification or requires employers to give them a raise. The teacher must also commit to stay with their employer for at least a year, cutting down on turnover. Without the TEACH scholarships some childcare workers may not be able to get formal training. Alternatives will vary by district. Wilson speculates the agency could work directly with community colleges or vocational schools.
Friday, 22 July 2005 01:00