What does a preschool teacher need to know?

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As part of its Pre[k]now campaign, the Pew Center on the States is calling for all pre-kindergarten educators to have a bachelor's degree that includes specialized training in early childhood education.

Citing previously compiled research, Pew asserts that teachers with higher educational levels and specific training in early childhood development just do a better job. Period. That's quite a gauntlet to pitch in the direction of Head Start, which has always been happy playing the dual role of preschool provider and local employment agency.

The reports authors, Linda Darling-Hammond et al., claim that more rigorous preparation will improve the poverty wages found in most preschools, which often pay their teachers less than what school bus drivers can earn. They point to models found in Wisconsin, New Jersey, North Carolina and California that show the positive impact of raising entry standards--provided plenty of financial assistance is involved.