A new book by Anne L. Douglass, associate professor and executive director of the University of Massachusetts Boston's Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation, argues that the solutions to the crisis of quality, access, and affordability in the field of early care and education (ECE) can—and must—be driven by early educators themselves.
Unlike other fields, such as technology and health care, that have long recognized that leadership development is a critical way to drive improvement, there are no formal ECE pathways to leadership and very few public or private investments to develop ECE leaders from within the field.
“Imagine trying to improve the health care system without the input of doctors, or dealing with cybersecurity issues without hearing from IT professionals. That’s a little bit what it’s like now as more plans are put forward to address the challenges facing early care and education,” said Douglass, who is a former early educator. “They are driven by outsiders. Early educators, who are the real experts, are viewed as the objects of change rather than the agents of change.”
In Leading for Change in Early Care and Education: Cultivating Leadership From Within (Teachers College Press), Douglass builds a theory and a practice of entrepreneurial leadership for early care and education. She offers a framework for ECE leadership that is inclusive, collaborative, and purpose-driven, and that defines a leader as someone who can influence and inspire change from any level or position in the ECE field. Building on her case study research that reveals immense untapped potential from within the early care and education workforce, Douglass convincingly makes the case for creating ecosystems that support this kind of professional growth and retention of talent within the ECE field.
With practical recommendations based on current research, Douglass’s model for developing and nurturing innovative, entrepreneurial, and skilled early educator leaders capable of driving transformative change has the potential to revolutionize the field—from classrooms and home-based programs to communities and beyond.
Leading for Change in Early Care and Education: Cultivating Leadership From Within is available now from tcpress.com, Amazon, and other booksellers.
About UMass Boston
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