Free Public Schools
CHAPTER 30. Early Childhood Education
Subchapter II. Early Childhood Workforce
Beginning in 2022, the Department of Education (Department), in consultation with stakeholders including the Delaware Early Childhood Council, shall annually produce, by November 15, an early childhood workforce study, which shall include all of the following:
(1) The number of individuals receiving state financial support.
(2) The number and percentage of early childhood professionals with credentials or degrees, both in total and disaggregated by race and ethnicity.
(3) The demographics of the early childhood workforce including age, race, ethnicity, and gender.
(4) The estimated cost to close the gap between current wages and the target wage scale, including parity with public school teaching staff and individuals with similar credentials.
(5) Gaps in data gathering and analysis and potential measures to close the gaps.83 Del. Laws, c. 500, § 1;
(a) By September 1, 2023, the Department of Education (Department) shall implement a comprehensive support program for early childhood professionals including those employed by a public school.
(b) By January 31, 2023, the Department, in consultation with the Delaware Early Childhood Council, shall produce a plan for the comprehensive support program, informed by the early childhood workforce study required by § 3011 of this title. The Department shall consider inclusion of the following components:
(1) An educational loan forgiveness program.
(2) Scholarship and other financial support for early childhood professionals pursuing degrees and credential attainment.
(3) Salary supplements for early childhood professionals and a proposed scale for such supplements that increases based on higher levels of educational attainment, and policy proposals to have such supplements excluded as income for purposes of determining eligibility for assistance programs.
(4) Formalized alternative routes to credentialing and certification in early childhood professions, including development of an alternative route to certification similar to the programs currently employed for K-12 educators.
(5) Improvements and coordination for aspiring early childhood professionals of professional pathway programs and the Teacher Academy program in district and charter schools, including strategies to support more diversity, to provide meaningful work-based learning opportunities, and to accelerate postsecondary credit and credentials during high school.
(6) Supports for early childhood professionals in the workforce and aspiring professionals including paraprofessionals, community members, parents, bilingual candidates, and those without degrees.
(7) Partnerships with institutions of higher education to support pathways and career development and support for early childhood professionals. The partnership should consider the viability and effectiveness of the following completion supports for individuals seeking credentials and degrees in fields relevant to early childhood education including:
b. Academic counseling and assistance in navigating credential requirements.
c. Embedded coaching and professional learning.
d. Community-based delivery of training at licensed child care and early learning providers.
e. Courses in languages other than English.
f. Developing or providing funding for substitutes when training or courses are offered during the work day.
(8) Assisting aspiring and current early childhood professionals to access other available financial supports, such as the Student Excellence Equals Degree (SEED) and Inspire scholarships.83 Del. Laws, c. 500, § 1;