The relationship among organizational practices, director level of education, experience, and child care center program quality in Tennessee

Linda A Sitton, Tennessee State University

Abstract

This research focused on Tennessee's child care directors' level of education and experience; specific organizational practices, and program quality as measured by (a) the Program Assessment scores (ECERS) or (b) NAEYC Accreditation status. The stratified random sample was 294 child care center directors from 80 urban and rural counties comprising the West, Middle, and a portion of East Tennessee. The survey instrument included a format of multiple-choice, yes/no, and fill-in the blank questions and yielded a 57.8% return rate. The 170 responses describe more than half of directors as working in not-for-profit centers located in urban areas; operating full-time year-round; and serving 51-100 children. Ten percent of the centers were accredited by the NAEYC and the average Program Assessment score (ECERS) was 4.55, which represents quality as between minimal and good. The highest level of education for 49.1% of directors was the completion of the 30 hour Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA) Orientation. Twenty-eight percent reported having earned the bachelor's degree in a major other than early childhood. Experience as director, on average, was 10 years and averaged 18 years in the early childhood field. A statistically significant relationship was found between the directors' level of education and the specific organization practices of lead teacher education requirement, lead teacher salary, the number of family involvement opportunities, and the number of staff benefits. A statistically significant relationship was found between director education and Program Assessment scores (ECERS). However, there was no significance between director experience and scores. A total of 21% of the variance in the Program Assessment scores (ECERS) may be attributed to lead teacher qualifications, director level of professional involvement, and years of experience as a director. A total of 23% of the variance in NAEYC Accreditation status may be attributed to lead teacher pay and the number of family supports. It is recommended that the Tennessee Department of Human Services' minimal licensing standards be increased specifically in the area of the pre-service education requirements for directors. Research supports the significant impact director education has on organizational practices and Program Assessment scores (ECERS). ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Early Childhood|Sociology, Public and Social Welfare

Recommended Citation

Linda A Sitton, "The relationship among organizational practices, director level of education, experience, and child care center program quality in Tennessee" (2007). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3277897.
http://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI3277897

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