- The U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services co-released a report that identifies striking pay gaps between the pay offered to kindergarten teachers versus those who teach preschool or early childhood education.
- The annual median wage for child care workers nationwide is $20,320 and preschool teachers make $28,570, while kindergarten teachers make $51,640, though some states, including Louisiana and Oklahoma have less striking gaps.
- Research shows high-quality early childhood education is important for a range of later student outcomes, yet the incentive system in preschools keeps many teachers from earning their bachelor’s degrees because pay is kept so low.
K-12 schools deal with the impact of low-quality early childhood education programs because students who enter kindergarten without good experiences are more likely to need special education services, language services and additional supports. Child brain development research says birth to age 3 is an incredibly important time, yet most public schools have no access to students during this period.
State and local governments, however, are starting to invest in more early childhood options to expand access to students from low-income families, especially. The National Conference of State Legislatures’ early education and child care tracking database reveals more than 1,000 bills being discussed across all 50 states. While there is still incredible need, at least there is evidence governments are taking it seriously.