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New Report Shares Lessons on Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity Policies


October 31, 2017
Samantha Kobbah
New America

” A labor of love,” is often a term associated with being an early childhood educator. While working in pre-K does require an affinity for playing with young children, there is a popular misconception that pre-K teachers are simply babysitters. Early childhood educators do have the pleasure of leading storytime and guiding imaginary play, but they also have the complex and challenging responsibilities of building children’s language and literacy skills, introducing foundational mathematic and scientific concepts, developing their critical thinking, and encouraging their social-emotional development—all through an immense amount of love and patience. While teaching pre-K is indeed a labor of love, it also needs to be a labor of adequate pay.

Recognizing that low compensation can impact pre-K program quality, more states are working to provide compensation parity among pre-K and K-3 teachers in state-funded programs.The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) in collaboration with the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), recently released Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: Lessons From Seven States and Cities, a new report examining state and local compensation parity policies for pre-K teachers in different education settings. This is the third part in a series on pre-K parity.

Data show that salaries for pre-K teachers are significantly lower– sometimes less than half– of those teaching children five years or older. As a nation, there is growing recognition that early childhood education is not only valuable, but critical to the development of young children. The education qualifications and credentials for pre-K teachers have started to catch up with the research in some places, acknowledging that these teachers need specialized knowledge and skills. Even when their qualifications match K-3 teachers, early childhood teacher salaries and benefits remain lower.

See the first two reports:
 In Pursuit of Pre-K Parity: A Proposed Framework for Understanding and Advancing Policy
Teacher Compensation Parity Policies and State-Funded Pre-K Programs