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Clark Announces a Fourth Bachelor Degree in Early Childhood Education

photo of the child services building
Olivia Family Early Learning Center where Clark students have hands on experience working with children. (Jacqueline Salvon/The Indy)

Clark College Board of trustees released February’s board packet revealing exciting plans to offer a new bachelor’s degree of applied science in teaching (BASIT).

The proposed degree will be Clark’s fourth bachelor degree and includes a teacher certification from kindergarten through third grade. BASIT is designed to accompany Clark’s pre-existing associates in applied science degree and is said to “Offer a wider net of career and wage opportunities for those in early learning.

BASIT is made to allow those in the workforce access to higher wage-earning positions a four-year degree allows. Provide the opportunity to those who already have their AAS in Early Childhood Education to further their education. Provide our schools with qualified teaching candidates that reflect our demographics.

The urgency for an affordable and flexible academic plan was made clear to the board when 60% of a survey done by alumni and students showed an “extreme” interest in BASIT. Currently, the only teaching program available to our area is either at Washington State University or paying out of state tuition in Oregon.

The Professional Educators Standards Board (PESB) indicated in its most recent data that our district is experiencing a shortage in elementary education, early learning education and special education.

Clark aims to tackle this shortage by “providing a pathway of education and training needs of a professional workforce who provide learning and caring environments for young children,” according to the packet.

Sarah Theberge one of Clark’s Early Childhood Education advisors advocates for the second family studies degree because of Clark’s community. “I think by providing a more accessible and affordable degree it diversifies our workforce because of our diverse community,” she says.

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