Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education

Much has been written about the woefully low compensation of early childhood teachers, those working in both centers and home-based settings. National and state workforce studies report hourly wages of less than $11, with few benefits such as fully funded health insurance or retirement. These low wages are often seen as the reason for high turnover and workforce instability.

A number of states are implementing strategies to try to partially address this issue. Such strategies include direct wage supplements tied to education, professional development scholarships with compensation incentives, tax credits for early childhood teachers, and wage parity requirements built into state-funded pre-K standards or within the state’s Quality Rating Improvement System. Some states and cities are also targeting efforts to increase minimum wage as a way to address the problem. Each of these strategies has both advantages and disadvantages…

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NASEM Recommendation: An Effective Financing Structure

In February 2018, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) released their highly anticipated report detailing 10 recommendations on how to finance quality early care and education (ECE) so it is accessible and affordable to all families and includes a well-qualified and adequately supported workforce.

The committee concludes that “transforming the financing structure for ECE to meet the needs of all children and families will require greater coordination among financing mechanisms as well as signification mobilization of financing and other resources across the public and private sectors.”

Consensus Study Report Highlights, February 2018

Of particular interest related to a well-qualified and adequately supported workforce is the first in the committee’s Principles of High-Quality Early Care and Education, which states, “High-quality early care and education requires a diverse, competent, effective, well-compensated, and professionally supported workforce across the various roles of ECE professionals.” In addition, the committee addresses compensation in the following recommendation in An Effective Financing Structure…

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Moving the Needle on Compensation Initiative

In January 2017, the T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center (Center), with grant funding from the Alliance for Early Success and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, announced grants to eight state teams (FL, IN, IA, MI, NE, NC, TX and WI) to raise the awareness of early childhood workforce compensation issues and create new or significantly expand policy, strategy development and implementation and funding to improve the compensation of the early education teaching workforce in participating states. In September 2018, following on the heels of these states, three new states (MN, OH and RI) were invited to participate in a second cohort, with TX and MI invited back from the first cohort, to address, once again, improving compensation of the early education teaching workforce through a state team approach. In September 2019, as TX and MI finished two years on the project, two additional states, NJ and AL, joined continuing states MN, OH and RI, on the project…

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