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The teachers who educate our youngest kids are struggling to make ends meet

December 8, 2015
Economics and FinanceGovernance and AccountabilityOutcomesState & LocalWorkforce
Rebecca Klein
Huffington Post

Most voters agree that we need to pay preschool teachers more.

Preschool is important. But those tasked with educating the nation’s littlest learners are not well-compensated for their efforts. A new report out from the National Association for the Education of Young Children shows that a majority of voters think early childhood educators deserve more pay. This makes sense given that a survey of preschool teachers also featured in the report reveals that some are struggling to get by.
Early childhood educators earn notoriously little money. A 2014 report from the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment found that preschool teachers typically only make six dollars more an hour than fast-food workers (with mean hourly wages of $15.11 and $9.07, respectively) — though early childhood educators are often required to have a bachelor’s or associate’s degree.

“If fast food workers deserve $15 per hour, then surely those teaching our most vulnerable children every day deserve significantly more,” David Nocenti, Executive Director of the child care network Union Settlement, told the outlet in September. Eighty-five percent of voters said they think it’s “very important” or “extremely important” that early childhood educators are well-compensated. Over 90 percent of surveyed voters also said that they “play a critical role in helping children grow and develop.”