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.
In addition to raising awareness, Worthy Wage Day calls on lawmakers and communities to commit to finding solutions to unjust compensation in early education.
Thank an early childhood educator today!
On Worthy Wage Day, the American Federation of Teachers calls attention to the importance of early childhood education and the dedication of its workforce. Every year, educators adopt a playful but poignant theme to highlight the need for worthy wages for early educators. In past years, educators delivered peanuts and play dough to members of the U.S. Congress, saying “We shouldn’t work for peanuts!” and “We can’t make it with ‘play-dough!’”
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.
This year, Worthy Wage Day is all the more important as a national movement to reform early childhood education and care gains 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.
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
National Worthy Wage Day is jointly coordinated by the Center for the Child Care Workforce and the American Federation of Teachers.