Category Archives: Discussion links

Scholar-Practitioners Who Impact Future Change in an Expecting Excellence Educator’s Point of View

I entered the early childhood field because I did not appreciate how I grew up.  I had a bad school experience and teachers from preschool through 3rd grade I did not relate to.  I was told by my first-grade teacher if I wanted to change something I should become a teacher.  I did become a teacher, but to my surprise teachers do not have the voice I thought they did.  Instead, other stakeholders dictated what would go in their classrooms and not give the teachers the autonomy to do what was best for their children.  We became a part of the race to the top funding that unfortunately prepared our students for the worst, not the best.  Schools were no longer working together but against each other to keep best-kept secrets to beat the next school.  The teaching world had become a business in corporate America.

My voice wanted for children to be who they were and yet believe they could accomplish anything to a good support system.  This support included parents, librarians, community workers, teachers, everyone who could and were willing to support students.  As a teacher, I should have a voice and a responsibility to speak out against assessments that do not measure student growth and individual achievement.  “Information on the children should include data on their prior out-of-home program experiences, primary language, and any identified special needs.  To complement these data, states would design a child assessment effort to document the status and progress of children’s knowledge, skills, and behaviors” (National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force, 2013, p. 65).  I believe the presence of these state funding tests is the greatest barrier. It is hard to measure children and teach all required standards.  We may overlook something or take away teaching time to get in standardized assessments.

As a scholar petitioner, I would love to talk to the presidential administration and the House of Representatives and Senate on what initiatives to evaluate programs on growth, not achievement.  Funding should not be taken away because they did not meet your national standard. Standards need to be realistic and not compared globally.  If they are compared globally, why not ask for assistance instead of competition?  We can learn from each other so all students are successful and not bound by where they live or their culture.  “Research shows that the quality of programs, as indicated by multiple dimensions, such as cultural appropriateness, staff skills, intensity and duration, and features of the physical and social environment of programs, is key to improving health, cognitive and socio-emotional development” (Britto et al, 2011, p. 3).  The only downfall is most times to really get a politician or agencies like NAEYC to listen you have to hold an office to fight.  Stakeholders say they listen to teachers, but they do not necessarily follow the advice.  To minimize the downfall, we have teacher unions where teacher serves on those boards and head to Washington and local state decision making legislative conferences.   I think coming together has made a huge impact on what can be done. Unfortunately, teachers in the early childhood field have become complacent, and tired of doing unnecessary assessments that they either make-up something on tests to get by and same on documentation.  They are falling out of love with what they loved to do.  I think bringing preschool teachers, day/ home care teachers, Head Start, Bright Horizons, Porter Leath, and any other early organization would help.  These teachers need to sit down and figure out what worked best in each area and why.  Can one assessment truly cover all domains and is it effective to be universal for all children and cultures?  Then we need to find out how to lessen the stress of paperwork and actually know what is required by evaluators and have time to implement those strategies.  Everyone hates to see an evaluator coming when, if they knew up front this is what should be posted, what your classroom should look like and sound like, then that would lessen the load on accreditation agencies, evaluators, and other stakeholders.  Everyone needs a specific sheet to evaluate from that covers what needs to be seen.  Then schools, parents should know also. Once the country can know what should happen, other stakeholders would know too.  Then politicians would not be trying to cut 9.2 billion from the education budget because it seems like we do not need all the resources previously given.  We might save money if everyone knew best practices and those were given universally.  But without a goal and purpose.  Right now, we need to take a step back and see what is really helping our children and what is not.  Then we may see more educators in a classroom achieves more or technology integrated into classroom helped to achieve more.  As scholar-practitioner, I see a need, but the question is: “Will stakeholders listen?”

The class I am currently taking has impacted how I think about evaluators and how I think about the evaluations we give children. I want to help children but believe that I almost need to work with and train others outside of classroom experience what needs to be met inside the classroom. Standards are great but are our children really measuring up? Programs seek quality, but it goes back to my initial question when I started this class: What is a quality program? Are we only looking at the environment and saying it’s safe for children? CLASS evaluations are listening to the relationship and interactions between the children and caregiver. Looking into evaluations this course has taught me that there are different aspects to quality. My goal would be to transform all these wonderful assessments into a single assessment that teachers, stakeholders, agencies can use one assessment to cover all domains and children and adults feel respected and valued in the end. If we have to ask what is a quality program and how is it assessed, we need to correct some evaluations and assessments toward centers, teachers, and students.


National Early Childhood Accountability Task Force (2013). The report of the national early childhood accountability task force: Taking stock: Assessing and improving early childhood learning and program quality. Chapter 4 Retrieved from

Britto, P. R., Yoshikawa, H., & Boller, K. (2011). Quality of early childhood development programs in global contexts: Rationale for investment, conceptual framework, and implications for equity. Sharing Child and Youth Development Knowledge, 25(2), 1–31. Retrieved from

Scholars Practitioners as Program Evaluators



Lorraine Cook decided to take her program through accreditation after she joined

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) in 1995 (Laureate

Education, 2016a). She wanted the national recognition and evidence that they were an

excellent organization from an outside source (Laureate Education, 2016a). Cook was

able to co-chair in a government program for New Jersey (Laureate Education, 2016a).

New Jersey was able to get the five percent increase in subsidies reimbursement for

accredited centers (Laureate Education, 2016a). Listening to the stories of early

childhood professionals who took the next step in making sure they had quality

education for their staff, the children and themselves was inspiring yet for me daunting.

I am a fearless educator and advocate for making sure that all children get a quality

education. I do not particularly care for being over other adults who may or may not

share the same aspirations as myself. Being a program evaluator can cause great friends

or major enemies. If the center and staff are willing to embrace changes and can be

flexible to change, then checking for quality, making sure program interventions match

the purpose of the program, and the curriculum that engaged all stakeholders would be

an easy feat.

Unfortunately, like Cook spoke on, I also believe not all centers are going for

accreditation even with extra incentives in place. They do not want a program evaluator

to come in and be a part of their center. Their comfort zone would be compromised.

People who have been in the field for a long time may not want to change their way of

thinking or doing things. I think this is the first class that is interesting to me as

understanding what a program evaluator does but not fully understanding the role and

not so ready to jump in as an evaluator. I can be more proactive in ensuring quality

environment and instruction for all children taking on a perspective of a program

evaluator in my school as a teacher, not necessary an administrator after the class is


One question I would have since I learned that some of the leaders no longer teach in

a classroom, is how do you still relate to teachers? At first being a program evaluator

could mean you can connect because you were just fresh out the classroom and you

understand the hardships teachers face and can come up with easy ways to meet

standards, ideas for quality instruction, and environment. My problem would be after

years of stepping out of the classroom how easy is it to impact the classroom and stay in

touch with all stakeholders, from parents, teachers, principals, students and the list can

go on. I have a deputy superintendent of our school system. She is out in her six-inch

heels daily walking into someone’s school building. Dr. Griffin stays in touch and then

comes back to tell them suggestions on how to meet the needs of their students. She

evaluates them on rigor, school climate and culture, and academics. Schools who hate to

see her coming are those who may do just enough to get by and may not be offering the

highest quality of education. Those who love to see her come invite her to the school to

see how they are implementing a strategy that will enhance quality instruction and

environment. If I had to step out of the classroom, I would want to be a program

evaluator like her. If I stay a teacher which is what I want to do, I could be a leader in the

sense of impacting through peer collaborations, teaching workshops at local conferences

on what to look for in a quality education program, or be on boards or committees

outside of school time to impact childcare in the same lines as Lorraine Cook did to help

out New Jersey.


Laureate Education (Producer). (2016a). NAYEC accreditation [Audio file]. Baltimore, MD: