New Opportunities? ESSA and Its Implications for Dual Language Learners and ECEC Workforce Development
Enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in 2015 introduced opportunities to use federal funds to strengthen the early childhood education and care (ECEC) workforce as a means of better meeting the needs of the growing and increasingly diverse young child population.
Children under the age of 5 who have at least one parent or guardian who speaks a language other than English at home stand to benefit significantly from improvements in the quality and accessibility of ECEC services. Yet there is a shortage of ECEC workers, one that is expected to only get more acute in the years ahead. And while immigrant ECEC workers may be well equipped to meet the needs of young Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and their families, they are more likely than native-born workers to hold positions that earn a lower wage—and many struggle to access the training and education needed to advance their careers.
This policy brief analyses the opportunities ESSA introduced for DLLs and the ECEC workforce. It begins by setting out key demographics of the DLL population, then discusses trends in the ECEC workforce and its capacity to meet the needs of DLLs and other children in ECEC settings. It maps the ESSA provisions intended to address these needs through support for ECEC workers. Finally, it highlights opportunities to support the recruitment, training, and ongoing development of a robust and culturally responsive workforce.
II. Who Are Dual Language Learners?
III. Profile of the ECEC Workforce
IV. ECEC-Focused Provisions in ESSA
V. Opportunities to Support DLLs by Strengthening the ECEC Workforce