|For Immediate Release:
February 12, 2010
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NAEYC Radio presents…
Underpaid early childhood workers:
Finding the path to better pay
(Washington, D.C.) - This month’s NAEYC Radio segment features Marcy Whitebook, Ph.D., who discusses early childhood workers’ wages and ways to find better pay. Dr. Whitebook directs the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California at Berkeley.
Rae Pica and Mark R. Ginsberg interviewed Dr. Whitebook in this month’s segment of NAEYC Radio, a program brought to you by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the BAM Radio Network.
In this segment, Dr. Whitebook says that most child care professionals make less than parking lot attendants. In fact, on average child care providers make about $15,000-$20,000 a year depending on where they live and what age group they care for. Dr. Whitebook says the reason for such low pay is that the United States never placed the same value on early childhood education as it has for the rest of the K-12 spectrum. While she says some attitudes have changed some, especially based on research of brain development in the early years, attitudes haven’t changed enough to make a significant impact on wages.
One way to push for higher pay is to push for higher standards, Dr. Whitebook says. Higher standards usually mean more training, more education, and more pay. She also recommends teachers become educated about the profession and find the best fit for them regarding pay. Typically elementary school and Head Start teachers have higher salaries than others in the field.
“It’s not that you can’t be in the early childhood field and never earn a professional salary, but as you feel the return on your investment in your education should go up, you have to be thinking about where are the sectors, where are places in the field where you’re likely to be compensated in a more professional way,” says Dr. Whitebook.
Dr. Whitebook was recently a presenter at NAEYC’s Public Policy Forum in Washington, D.C. Her presentation focused on integrating early childhood workforce data into P-20 longitudinal data systems.
Mark R. Ginsberg, Ph.D., is the executive director of NAEYC.
The BAM Radio Network was originally launched as a resource for parents, aimed at delivering the most reliable information on early childhood development and developmentally appropriate parenting to busy moms and dads. Created by leading early childhood experts, the programming quickly became a popular resource among teachers and educators and was expanded to include an Educators' Channel.
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children has nearly 90,000 members worldwide. The association is the largest and most influential voice for early childhood education professionals and the field of early childhood education in the United States.
Founded in 1926, the National Association for the Education of Young Children is the largest and most influential advocate for high-quality early care and education in the United States.