This letter has been written by the Skyline College Faculty interviewed in the article, “Early Childhood Education: an overlooked program” written by, Christian Carlo Ceguerra, for the April 23, 2021 article in the Skyline View.
The Skyline College Education and Child Development (EDU-CD) Department faculty and staff, in partnership with the Child Development Center, are appreciative that the Skyline View conveyed their interest in the field of early childhood education as a featured article. The work of early childhood educators on behalf of children and families on the campus and in our community is important work. The title of this article is accurate – the Early Childhood Education Department and the work of early childhood educators in our community and country are often overlooked. For this reason, the faculty members that agreed to being interviewed were excited and hopeful to be able to provide information about the program and the benefits to our students, families, and community.
Upon reading the published article the Skyline View, faculty were surprised by the tone that the editorial staff chose of the article . Rather than work to dispel the myths and challenges of the work of early childhood educators, the article amplified the issues with little or no heed to the dedicated and remarkable work that is being done on behalf of Early Childhood Education students and the local workforce. While low wages and the need for increased male representation are inextricably tied to professional prestige, these topics were not explored in depth and left more questions than answers in regards to how the field and San Mateo County Community College District faculty are working to address these inequities.
There was no mention of the significant funding and policy changes occurring at both the federal and our state level for early education to align with K-12 public school systems. No inclusion of the “she-cession” that was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic and the heightened need for teacher preparation programs and teachers for all age groups. The article did not mention the significant work completed by the EDU-CD faculty to access and provide Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) resources for almost all of the courses offered through the department as well as a practically seamless transition to online teaching for all courses in light of the pandemic. It would have been preferred if there was a mention of Skyline College students being awarded 34 Associate Degrees to Transfer, 12 Associate Degrees, and 35 Early Childhood Education Certificates, during the 2020/2021 academic year even with all the challenges of Covid. There was only a cursory mention of the innovative and equity-minded Early Childhood Apprenticeship Program (ECAP) being developed to individualize supports for ECE students and fast-track their college experience to complete their Associate Degree for Transfer, achieve early education industry benchmarks, and be positioned to accept employment and positions of leadership in early education with living wages in San Mateo County and beyond.
True to the article’s title, we want to highlight the importance of high-quality, student-centered and equitable programs we design and deliver to our children, their families and the students who are learning and contributing to the development of our program. We want to encourage the Skyline View to take a deeper dive into any one of the topics included in the initial article and help to dispel the myths in early childhood education and illuminate the good work of students, staff and faculty in early childhood education.