Volume 16, Issue 46

Hot Topics

Around the World on PreK Teacher Pay

Much attention has been focused recently on compensation, qualifications and education of preschool teachers. Starting Strong 2017, the latest Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) publication sharing key indicators on international early childhood education policy and practice, offers both data and insights into preK workforce issues.

The OECD report reflects a research consensus that high-quality early childhood education and care can improve children’s cognitive abilities and socio-emotional development, help close the achievement gap and reduce poverty. The report reflects data and trends from 37 OECD member countries.

The level of qualification required to be a pre-primary teacher has increased, the report notes, as 27 of countries with available data require the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree. However, OECD data show that on average preK teachers earn 74% of the salary of similarly educated workers, ages 25-64, in full-time, full-year jobs.

NIEER has partnered with the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) to research compensation parity among public pre-K programs in the US. Two policy briefs, In Pursuit of Pre-K Parity: A Proposed Framework for Understanding and Advancing Policy and Practice, and Teacher Compensation Parity Policies and State Funded Pre-K Programs, explore policies seeking to improve financial rewards for teaching preschool relative to teaching older children.

Competitive salaries and good working conditions may attract young people to teaching and help to retain effective teachers in the profession. OECD found pre-primary teachers’ salaries vary widely across countries, from under USD 20,000 in the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Slovak Republic, to more than USD 50,000 in Australia, the Netherlands and the USA, and exceed USD 100,000 in Luxembourg.

However, it appears that what OECD reports for pre-primary teacher salary for the USA is for kindergarten teachers, as kindergarten is preprimary by the OECD definition. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016 the median kindergarten teacher salary was $55,490, while median preschool teacher salary was $28,790 (just 52% of the kindergarten teacher salary).

The OECD analysis also found:

  • While diversity of staff is particularly beneficial to open the minds of disadvantaged children and to ease their integration, there are few pre-primary teachers from minority and ethnic communities
  • Women represent 97% of ECEC teachers in OECD countries
  • In pre-primary education 25% of teachers are at least 50-years-old
  • Teaching days range from 162 in France to more than 200 in Iceland and Norway, with an average of approximately 190 days—1,005 hours across 40 weeks; between 4-6 hours per day.

Teachers remain the key ingredient to high-quality early learning—but it takes more than training to make a real difference, according to the OECD.

“Better educated ECEC staff with specialised training are more likely to improve children’s cognitive outcomes through larger vocabularies, increased ability to solve problems and increased ability to develop targeted lesson plans,” the report states. “However, it is not only qualifications that affect outcomes; it is the ability of staff members to create a better pedagogic environment that makes a real difference.”

OECD has conducted analysis and developed new early education data for more than 15 years to inform policymakers as they consider enhancing and expanding access to early learning. NIEER will be highlighting more of these OECD international comparisons in upcoming issues.

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New on Preschool Matters Today! Blog

AI/AN: Infusing PreK Curriculum with Tribal Culture

Early childhood education research has rarely focused on supporting young children in tribal communities, hampering our capacity to understand and advocate for the kinds of high-quality practices grounded in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) culture that can make a positive difference in children’s lives.

Despite these challenges, many tribes across the country are striving to provide high-quality early childhood education programs and services, recognizing that traditional values at the heart of tribal cultures support a more holistic and community-based view of raising and educating young children.

NIEER Activities

The City of Seattle released an evaluation of the Seattle Preschool Program’s second year conducted by NIEER and the University of Washington, finding improved classroom quality and teacher interaction, along with positive gains for children in vocabulary, literacy, and math.

Approved by voters in 2014, the Seattle Preschool Program is a pilot program currently serving more than 1,000 children. Seattle Preschool Program providers receive funding from the City, intensive coaching and training for their teachers, and access to teacher education and facility improvement funds to offer high-quality early learning opportunities for Seattle’s four-year-olds and eligible three-year-olds. SPP entered the third year of its four-year pilot phase in fall 2017.

CEELO Update

The U.S. Departments of Education and Health & Human Services (ED/HHS) sponsored a joint Preschool Development Grants (PDG) and Early Learning Challenge Grants (ELC) annual grantee meeting on October 18-19, 2017. The theme of the meeting was Celebrating Innovations and Building on Successes. CEELO staff presented numerous workshops on financing and sustaining high quality programsequityusing data to drive results, and policies to support P-3 alignment.  Additional resources are available here.


Children’s Budget 2017

First Focus this week published its annual Children’s Budget providing a multi-year, line-by-line analysis of the funding dedicated to children by Congress and in every president’s budget.

The children’s share of all federal spending was just 7.75 percent in FY 2017 and President Trump’s budget proposal for FY 2018 would cut that further to just 7.47 percent. Between 2011 and 2016, the report states, children’s programs received just 2.1 percent of all new federal spending–due exclusively to mandatory spending.

The Impact of Teachers’ Commenting Strategies on Children’s Vocabulary Growth

New research published by Child Care and Early Education Research Connections examines teachers’ comments during reading sessions in Head Start classrooms and the vocabulary growth of children with low and moderately low language ability.

Comments were distinguished by the amount of cognitive distancing required for understanding and labeled low, medium, or high. The study found children in classrooms where teachers used more medium-level comments experienced greater growth than those hearing fewer.

Dual Language Learners: A National Demographic and Policy Profile

The Migration Policy Institute recently shared an online directory of fact sheets for 30 states with the most dual language learners (DLLs) providing demographic overviews of DLL compared to the non-DLL population, achievement gap data, and related state early childhood education and care policies.

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for the Early Years (0-4 years)

These recently published guidelines from ParticipACTION, a Canadian non-profit organization, focus on encouraging healthy growth and development among young children through a daily balance of physical activities, sedentary behaviors and sleep. Guidelines encourage sedentary behaviors such as non-screen-based activities including reading, storytelling, singing, and puzzles.

“Following these Guidelines through the early years is associated with better growth, cardiorespiratory and musculoskeletal fitness, cognitive development, psychosocial health/emotional regulation, motor development, body composition, quality of life/well-being, as well as reduced injuries,” the report states.

The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Universal Preschool: Evidence from a Spanish Reform

This Society for Research in Child Development study examines to what extent benefits for children and parents outweigh public investments in universal preschool, focusing on the Spanish Ley Orgánica de Ordenación General del Sistema Educativo (LOGSE) reform in the early 1990s.

This study provides a cost-benefit analysis of expanding access to universal preschool education, focusing on a Spanish reform that lowered the age of eligibility from four to three years old. Results show child development effects are the major determinant of the cost-benefit ratio; the employment gains for parents appear to play a relatively minor role.

Building a Comprehensive State Policy Strategy to Prevent Expulsion from Early Learning Settings

This new tool from the federal State Capacity Building Center is designed to help states and territories reduce, and ultimately eliminate, expulsion and suspension from early learning settings through a multifaceted policy approach.

Building a Comprehensive State Policy Strategy to Prevent Expulsion from Early Learning Settings provides options for promoting social-emotional development and reducing the likelihood of expulsion and suspension and can be used to identify strengths upon which to build and prioritize areas for action.


Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood

Delaware Stars, the state QRIS, is seeking a Research and Evaluation Program Manager, a Ph.D. level position providing data and research support. The position is located at University of Delaware. Applications must be submitted directly through the University of Delaware career site. Job ID: 105078, Newark, DE. Click here to view the full job description.

NIEER Recruiting Data Collectors

NIEER is seeking to hire data collectors for training and administering child and classroom assessment instruments in pre‐K classrooms in New Jersey, Philadelphia and West Virginia for the months of February to June 2018.

To apply, please send a letter of interest, curriculum vita/resume, transcript (if currently a student), and the names of two references to NIEER Senior Assistant Research Project Coordinator Carol Contreras. Please include the phrase “Data Collector” and your current location in the subject line.


Young Scholars Program Children of Immigrants Webinar

“Understanding Immigration Status, Community Support Systems and Pedagogical Approaches as Key Factors in Supporting Children’s Learning”
Thursday, December 7, 2017
2 – 3:30 pm EST

The educational progress of immigrant children can be marked by challenges related to parental legal status, socioeconomic disadvantage, and inadequate language supports in school. This webinar, the final in a three-part series, highlights effective multi-pronged interventions and pedagogical strategies for supporting the academic and social-emotional development of first-generation children of immigrants. Register by Dec. 6.

This webinar will be moderated by Carola Oliva-Olson, Ph.D. and feature presenters Jennifer Keys Adair, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at The University of Texas, Austin; Kalina M. Brabeck, Ph.D. Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Leadership and School Psychology at Rhode Island College, and Eric Dearing, Ph.D. Professor of Applied Developmental Psychology in the Lynch School of Education at Boston College and Senior Researcher, Norwegian Center for Child Behavioral Development.

Early Education News Roundup

ICYMI: Read this week’s key stories on early childhood education issues.

Highlighting the week's most interesting stories and studies: PreK Teacher Pay, PDG and Children's Budget