regarding appropriate teaching practice, so that teachers can meet the needs of individual children, rather than teaching to the “average” child. The standards should outline essential components and should include, but not be limited to, the following categories:

  • School-home relationships,

  • Class size and teacher-student ratios,

  • Specification of pedagogical goals, content, and methods,

  • Assessment for instructional improvement,

  • Educational requirements for early childhood educators, and

  • Monitoring quality/external accountability.

Recommendation 11: Because research has identified content that is appropriate and important for inclusion in early childhood programs, content standards should be developed and evaluated regularly to ascertain whether they adhere to current scientific understanding of children’s learning.

The content standards should ensure that children have access to rich and varied opportunities to learn in areas that are now omitted from many curricula—such as phonological awareness, number concepts, methods of scientific investigation, cultural knowledge, and language.

Recommendation 12: A single career ladder for early childhood teachers, with differentiated pay levels, should be specified by each state.

This career ladder should include, at a minimum, teaching assistants (with child development associate certification), teachers (with bachelor’s degrees), and supervisors.

Recommendation 13: The committee recommends that the federal government fund well-planned, high-quality center-based preschool programs for all children at high risk of school failure.

Such programs can prevent school failure and significantly

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