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Policy Brief - Low Wages = Low Quality: Solving the Real Preschool Teacher Crisis

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Policy Brief – Low Wages = Low Quality: Solving the Real Preschool Teacher Crisis


May 1, 2003
Quality and CurriculumWorkforce

This brief looks at salaries for preschool teachers and child care workers and provides evidence of the effects of poor pay and employee benefits on teacher morale, turnover rates, and ultimately on educational quality.

By W. Steven Barnett
NIEER Policy Brief (Issue 3, May 2003)

Summary

“Show me the money!”
Evidence points to the low wages and benefits offered to preschool teachers as the single most important factor in hiring and keeping good teachers. In fact, preschool programs with the lowest pay have the highest turnover.

“How low can it go?”
This brief looks at just how low salaries are for preschool teachers and child care workers and provides evidence of the effects of poor pay and employee benefits on teacher morale, turnover rates, and ultimately on educational quality. Current strategies designed to address the problems of poor compensation are presented, as are policy recommendations to help promote the compensation increases necessary to ensure high-quality preschool programs for our children.

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