At the national level, Congressional early care and education proposals would fund paying early child care workers and educators a minimum of $15 an hour, provide health care and other benefits, and make sure that compensation for early educators matches salaries for K-12 teachers with similar education and experience. These changes would dramatically boost the earnings of early educators, who are predominantly women and women of color.
High-quality child care centers are fundamental to strengthening and growing our economy. I believe that if we keep the Step Up To Quality rating system to help centers reach their goal of becoming high-quality centers, we then help build the next generation of workers. Our focus should be on making the program stronger, not eliminating it.
A Community Change Action national study of likely voters indicates that Americans - regardless of whether they have young children - support investing in child care to make it affordable for families and to pay early childhood educators a living wage. The survey shows that regardless of political leaning, voters agree that wages for the early care and education workforce are too low and favor increasing compensation.
People from across the nation call on Congress to invest $70 billion a year to build a caring agenda that supports every family in America by making early care and education free to low-income families and improving wages so that early education providers earn a comparable wage to K-12 teachers. We in Ohio join the national call and ask our state legislators to work with us to improve our current tools such as the Step Up To Quality rating system. Let’s work together to make our families thrive.
Dayton resident Terri Sims is an early childhood educator.