Community-Based Organization

CBO Role in UPK

Experts have long raised concerns about how structural differences between settings may disadvantage Community Based Organizations (CBOs) relative to public school programs. For example, administrators and teachers in many CBO settings receive substantially lower compensation—fueling turnover and undermining quality improvement efforts. Limited research suggests children in CBOs in some of these systems are more likely to be from marginalized groups and make fewer gains in pre-K than their public school peers.

Qualified teachers are leaving CBOs to pursue jobs in schools that pay more for fewer working hours. To staunch the flow of talent, policymakers should establish hourly wages that apply to UPK teachers and administrators in all settings. The wage level could vary by teacher and administrator education, certification, years of experience, and responsibilities.

Greater administrative challenges for CBO administrators, particularly related to teacher hiring and staff shortages, which undermine the continuity that supports children’s learning. Directing a UPK program in any setting is no easy task, but the results suggest that greater demands on CBO administrators restrict their ability to nurture high-quality pedagogy, innovative programming and services, and their own skills. These challenges appear to be particularly steep at Head Start sites. Policymakers need to assure that all administrators have the staffing they need to devote themselves to these foundations of a high-quality program.

Partnership Support Module