Court Upholds Degree Requirement for D.C. Childcare Workers

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The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a decision announced last week, upheld a requirement that many childcare workers in the District of Columbia hold a college degree.

The rule, issued in 2016 by the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent, requires childcare workers at daycare centers and home-based childcare businesses of a certain size to have an associate degree in early-childhood education or a related field. Alternatively, workers with college degrees in other fields can take at least 24 credit hours of courses relevant to early-childhood education.

Two childcare workers and a parent filed a lawsuit challenging the requirement in 2018. The workers argued they could do their jobs without taking expensive college classes and the Office of the State Superintendent was unlawfully interfering with their work. They also objected to the differentiation between types of childcare workers.

The complaint was previously dismissed by a U.S. District Court, which concluded that the Office of the State Superintendent acted reasonably and “the college requirements are rational, including in the distinctions they draw between different classes of daycare workers,” the appeals decision read. “We agree with the district court and affirm its judgment.”

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