Early Years

August 11, 2004 2 min read

Low Wages

“Current Data on the Salaries and Benefits of the U.S. Early Childhood Education Workforce,” is available from the Center for the Childcare Workforce. (Requires Adobe’s Acrobat Reader.)

In spite of growing demands for high-quality early-childhood programs, preschool teachers still earn roughly half what kindergarten teachers do, according to a report released by the Center for the Child Care Workforce.

Preschool teachers make an average of $10.67 per hour, and child-care workers earn even less, $8.32 an hour. Wages for those working with young children rose just 0.6 percent in 2003, the report says.

“We are never going to achieve the high-quality early-childhood-education system that we know all children deserve if we do not invest in the workforce itself,” Marci Young, the director of the Washington-based center, a project of the AFT Educational Foundation, said in a press release.

The report, “Current Data on the Salaries and Benefits of the U.S. Early Childhood Education Workforce,” also shows that of the 770 occupations the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics surveyed, only 18 have lower wages than child-care providers.

School Readiness

An early-childhood-education program in Maryland is helping to narrow the school readiness gap between disadvantaged children and their middle-class peers, says a state education department report.

By the end of kindergarten, poor children who took part in the Judith P. Hoyer Early Child Care and Education Enhancement Program, which serves children from birth through age 5, did not initially appear to perform any better than children who did not receive the services. But when the researchers examined the assessments of particular high-risk groups, such as children with limited English proficiency and those with special needs, they found they were doing as well as or better than children who were ineligible for the program.

Named for the late wife of U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., who supervised early-childhood programs in the Prince George’s County school district, the program offers early education, family support, and health services in 24 “Judy centers” statewide.

The study, conducted by MGT of America, a research and consulting group in Tallahassee, Fla., also found that the program had improved access to early-childhood education and that almost all the centers had met state requirements that they become accredited.

—Linda Jacobson