New report shows low compensation affects quality
Posted on 06.24.2016, Friday

A new report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education states what we have long known to be true: High-quality early learning settings depend on a high-quality workforce. Low compensation undermines quality. Worthy work deserves worthy wages, but as the graph below shows, early childhood educators in North Carolina are not fairly compensated.

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Early childhood teachers are the key component to quality programs that build the foundation for young children’s development, health, early learning, and future success. But far too often, early educators themselves don’t have the necessary education, preparation, support and compensation they need to be effective teachers and deliver the full promise of quality early education.

The work of early childhood educators is valuable, complex, and chronically underfunded. According to a study conducted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children:

  • 50% of early childhood educators are worried about their own family’s economic well-being
  • Compensation for early childhood educators grew just 1% between 1997 and 2013
  • 79% stated that finding a job with sufficient salary and benefits was the major obstacle to becoming an early education teacher and remaining in the field

A workforce study by Child Care Services Association found similar results about early childhood educators in North Carolina:

  • One in ten teachers reported working two jobs to make ends meet to care for their own families
  • 40% of all the early education teachers in North Carolina relied on some form of public assistance in the past year
  • Only half of all teachers received some form of paid health insurance benefit
  • Nearly 20% of the teachers stated they were likely to leave the field in three years for better pay and benefits

For the sake of our children’s futures, it is critical that qualified teachers who are passionate about serving young children are compensated and supported – in North Carolina and across the country.

“The science of early brain development and the economics of early childhood education are clear and decisive. Quality matters,” says Rhian Evans Allvin, executive director of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. “Excellent educators are the linchpin. The interactions and experiences they create, the classroom environments they establish, and the relationships they develop with families are what build the quality upon which positive outcomes for children rest.”

Learn more about how you can advocate for the educators responsible for our young children. Worthy work deserves worthy wages!

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