By a Thread: How Child Care Centers Hold on to Teachers, How Teachers Build Lasting Careers

By a Thread: How Child Care Centers Hold on to Teachers, How Teachers Build Lasting Careers

By a Thread: How Child Care Centers Hold on to Teachers, How Teachers Build Lasting Careers

By a Thread: How Child Care Centers Hold on to Teachers, How Teachers Build Lasting Careers

Synopsis

Marcy Whitebook and Laura Sakai examine how child care programs and their staff subsist in a field characterized by low pay, low status, and high turnover and what the impacts of these factors are on the quality of child care provided.

Excerpt

The demand for child care services has been steadily increasing over the last few decades as a result of demographic trends, public policies, and emerging scientific inquiry about brain development and early learning. On the demographic side, the number of mothers of preschool children in the workforce increased from 12 percent shortly after the end of World War II to 65 percent at the turn of the century (U.S. House of Representatives 2000). Similar increases have occurred among mothers of school-age children. From 2002 through 2010, the rate of labor force participation among women ages 25 to 54 is projected to increase moderately from 77.7 to 80.4 percent, resulting in a further decrease in the number of women who can provide full-time care for their children at home (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2002). In addition, the number of single-parent families has nearly tripled since 1950, and these families are most often headed by women who are their households' sole sources of income and are consumers of child care services (Field and Casper 2000). Demand for child care services has also increased in response to the work requirements and time limits mandated by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996, as parents leaving welfare and entering training programs or the workforce seek care for their young children.

As a result of these changes, most U.S. children under five (61 percent, as of 1999) spend time on a regular basis each week in nonparental care (Shonkoff and Phillips 2000); this includes 52 percent of oneyear-olds and 82 percent of four-year-olds (Lombardi 2003). These children can be found in a variety of arrangements while their parents are at work. Twenty-eight percent attend child care centers, 14 percent attend a home-based child care program, 27 percent are cared for by . . .

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