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Proposed Revisions to the Definitions for the Early Childhood Workforce in the Standard Occupational Classification
Brandon, R., Burchinal, M., Kipnis, F., Weber, R., Whitebook, M., & Zaslow, M.
an Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation report, originally commissioned by the Administration for Children and Families
This white paper was commissioned by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in order to respond to a request for comment by the Office of Management and Budget for the 2018 revision of the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC). It was prepared by the Workgroup on the Early Childhood Workforce and Professional Development and incorporates input from the leadership of ACF on initial drafts. The white paper was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in June 2014 and is available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) website. This version of the report is identical in content and is being reproduced as an Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) report in 2016.
The SOC is used by Federal statistical agencies to classify workers and jobs into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, analyzing, or disseminating data. This white paper proposes changes to the titles, definitions, and placement of the detailed occupations involving the early childhood care and education (ECCE) workforce in the SOC. At present, a series of problems exists with the categorization and definitions used in the federal occupational data system for the ECCE workforce. These problems make it difficult to know the size of this workforce and its characteristics, such as level of education and training.
To get a comprehensive picture of the ECCE workforce and its characteristics requires: (1) specifying the age range of children cared for by those in ECCE occupations (something that current definitions do not consistently do); (2) providing definitions focusing on the work performed and that make clear the full range of settings in which this work occurs (current definitions focus on the provision of physical care in some types of settings and on the provision of educational activities in others); and (3) differentiating level of responsibility (for example, going beyond the current definitions by distinguishing between lead or full teacher and assistant or aide).
The white paper proposes revisions to the definitions for the ECCE occupations in the SOC so that they specify the age range of children cared for by those in ECCE occupations as birth to entry into kindergarten; include both educational and caregiving activities in the listing of work activities, and use titles that reflect both teaching and caregiving; differentiate among three levels of responsibility, including assistant/aide, lead/full teacher/caregiver, and director/owner; clearly state that each of these occupations can occur in home-based, center-based, and school-based settings; use the term “for pay or profit” to refer to monetary remuneration through salary or wages or through payments in the forms of fees or charges; and eliminate the current distinction between “Childcare Workers” and “Preschool Teachers,” a distinction that does not reliably reflect teaching and caregiving duties, level or responsibility, or level of professional preparation.
Workgroup on the Early Childhood Workforce and Professional Development. (2016). Proposed revisions to the definitions for the early childhood workforce in the Standard Occupational Classification: White paper commissioned by the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OPRE Report 2016-45). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.