Panel Paper: Individual, Organizational, and Policy Barriers to Professional Development for Childcare Providers: Moderation By Rurality

Friday, November 8, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Court 7 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Sara Anderson and Baris Sevi, West Virginia University

There are approximately 27 million three to five years old children enrolled in early care and education (ECE) in U.S. (NIEER, 2016). ECE has a role in child development, and the quality of ECE can make a difference (Bromer & Korfmacher, 2017) . Approximately twelve million children live in rural areas, and these children demonstrate more behavioral problems and lower levels of school readiness than peers from urban areas, though ECE can help mitigate those gaps (Miller & Vortuba-Drzal, 2013). The quality of ECE can be increased through professional development (PD), and state and federal policies, such as Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) play a role in promoting the uptake of PD. Importantly, there are notable barriers to the uptake of ECE. At an individual level, people may suffer from a lack of time, high stress, and low compensation. Organizational features also may impede uptake, such as professional financial support and time off. The first aim of this study is to examine the relations between PD uptake and individual, organizational, and policy barriers. The second aim of this study is to examine the possible moderating role of teachers living in rural areas.

The Workforce Provider survey of the National Study of Early Care and Education (NSECE 2012) was used to address our research aims. The survey provides data from classroom-assigned instructional staff, teachers, and assistant teachers who worked at a center-based care setting. The sample was restricted to providers caring for children from ages of 0-5 (N = 4,832). Among these, 4,089 was form urban, 559 were form suburban, and 184 were from rural areas. Possible individual (e.g. experience, degree major, certification) and organizational barriers (e.g. worker role, working hours, hourly wage amount) were regressed on four different PD types; workshop, courses, coaching, and visiting others. Demographic variables (e.g. race, ethnicity) were added as covariates. Policy features, from the QRIS Compendium, will provide insight into policy barriers. Four regression models were computed for four groups; all sample, urban, suburban, and rural.

Overall, results suggested that depression was negatively related with taking workshops (b = -.06, SE = .03), not having a degree on education or ECE was positively related with taking courses (b = .15, SE = .05), and not having a determined work role was negatively related with coaching (b = -.54, SE = .11). For coaching, having a graduate education was positively related in rural areas (b = .72, SE = .16) while it is negatively related in urban areas (b = -.56, SE = .20). Compared to working full time, working part time is negatively related to taking courses in rural areas (b = -.30, SE = .12), whereas it is positively related in suburban areas (b = .49, SE = .19). By and large, the barriers identified in the first round of regression models did not vary by rurality.

The results provide insight into impediments to PD among child care workers. Additional analyses will incorporate state-level policy features, as identified in QRIS systems.