NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Experienced Personnel Leaving Child Care Centers

May 1, 2001

First there was the disquieting news that youngsters in child care tend to be more aggressive and disobedient than children who stay at home with their mothers. Now another study finds that child care centers are losing well-educated teaching staff and administrators at an alarming rate. They are being replaced with personnel having less training and education.

The new study comes from the University of California at Berkeley and the Center for the Child Care Workforce.

  • It says that 75 percent of teaching staff employed at centers studied in 1996 and 40 percent of the directors were no longer on the job when the centers were revisited in 2000.
  • Teaching staff and directors reported that high turnover negatively affected their ability to do their jobs -- and for some, contributed to their decision to leave.
  • Pay, which the study says has not kept pace with the cost of living, was also cited as a turnover factor.

Meanwhile, the earlier study concerning behavioral problems among children attending child care centers has sparked some controversy. Duane Alexander, the director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which conducted the study, said the negative findings were "totally blown out of proportion."

Researchers involved in the study point out that although 17 percent of children in child care exhibited aggressive tendencies, it would be wise to remember that 83 percent didn't.

Source: Valerie Strauss, "Child Care Worries Adding Up," Washington Post, April 30, 2001.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues