Research Report

Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity

The National Institute for Early Education Research is proud to partner with the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at UC Berkeley on release of a new report revealing how states and cities are closing the gap in compensation between equally qualified pre-K teachers and kindergarten and elementary school teachers.

This report is the third in a series of materials on pre-K compensation parity, developed by NIEER and the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. The first report, In Pursuit of Pre-K Parity: A Proposed Framework for Understanding and Advancing Policy and Practice, developed a framework for understanding pre-K teacher compensation parity and forms of compensation improvement. The second report, Teacher Compensation Parity Policies and State Funded Pre-K Programs compared teacher compensation in state-funded pre-K programs, based on data collected for the 2015 State of Preschool Yearbook.

NIEER’s analysis, focused on teachers in public pre-K programs serving about 1.8 million children, showed public pre-K programs in 24 states–more than half of the 44 states funding pre-K–have no compensation parity policies for teachers. Generally, pre-K teachers with a bachelor’s degree or higher can expect to earn $10,000–$13,000 less per year than colleagues teaching slightly older children, even if they work in the same building.

This new report indicates states and cities across the country are moving to improve pre-K teacher compensation as recruiting and retaining skilled educators is critical to delivering the high-quality learning environment these programs promise. Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: Lessons from Seven States and Cities looks at policies in Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey, Oregon, West Virginia, New York City, and San Antonio where a variety of strategies have successfully been implemented to get closer to or surpass equal pay and benefits for pre-K and teachers of older children.