Research continues to tell us that the most important component of good early care and education is the quality and consistency of the educator. As long as early childhood educators are paid low wages or poverty-level wages, the United States will never be able to ensure that our youngest children receive the highest-quality early care and education.
A national movement to reform early childhood education and care is gaining momentum:
- On September 14th, the Child Care for Working Families Act was introduced. This legislation is aimed at making child care more affordable and improving working conditions for early childhood education across the country.
- Power to the Profession, a national collaboration of stakeholder organizations, including the AFT, is working to elevate the early childhood education profession by setting a unifying framework of professional guidelines for early childhood educators—from required competencies and qualifications to career pathways and compensation.
- A new report from the National Academies of Science shows that reforming America’s early childhood education system is possible, and provides a roadmap for how it could be done.
Worthy Wage Day
Worthy Wage Day is a national day of action held annually on May 1st since 1992. It is designed to raise public awareness of:
- The low wages earned by early childhood educators;
- The impact the teacher retention crisis has on young children; and
- The chronic public underfunding for early education.
The American Federation of Teachers continues to call attention to the importance of early childhood education and the dedication of its workforce. We call on lawmakers and communities to commit to finding solutions to unjust compensation in early education.
Join us as we celebrate early childhood educators and mobilize for the Child Care for Working Families Act, because child care and pre-K must be accessible for all children.
Check out our Worthy Wage Day blog series and lend your voice to the call for worthy wages.
- Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least? New York Times Magazine
- Will a College Degree Requirement Lead to Better, More Respected Preschool Teachers? Washington Post Magazine
- Child Care for Working Families Act Will Improve the Quality and Quantity of Child Care, The Hill