It’s no secret that early educators struggle to make ends in meet in all 50 states. What might be news to some, however, is that low pay is one of the major barriers standing in the way of providing affordable and quality child care for all.
In order to provide the best care possible so all families can enjoy the benefits of accessing child care while early educators can at the same time take care of their own needs, workers from across the country are supporting the Child Care Fight for $15.
"We expect skilled teachers to lay the foundation for children’s lifelong learning and success, yet those workers are paid a median wage of $9.38 per hour. That’s a whole lot less than, say, the guy who writes the jingle for a soap commercial or the woman turning the letters on the game show. And that . . . is crazy,” says Childcare.fightfor15.org.
"Child care workers are coming together and joining parents and other workers across the country to fight for $15 and quality, affordable child care. We’re standing together to demand more for everyone who works hard but doesn’t make enough to get by.”
In July 2016, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley released the very first comprehensive report on the quality of early education in every U.S. state.
The report found that 46 percent of early educators need public assistance to get by, and that only one state out of all 50 is making headway by advancing promising policies to correct a standard of low pay.
While voters and candidates alike agree that providing quality, affordable child care to all parents should be a national priority, discussing how to make specific improvements rarely gets discussed.
Members of the Child Care Fight for $15 argue that raising the pay standard for early education workers is one of the first steps.
This group isn’t the first to put pressure on candidates to address how to increase affordable and quality child care opportunities.
In late September, the American Federation of Teachers, the Center for American Progress, Every Child Matters and several other high-profile groups launched an initiative called Stand with Families to demand action from candidates and voters in order to finally address the issue once and for all.
On a positive note, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump support the cause. How willing they both are to take action when elected into office, however, is a different matter and is advocates’ main cause for concern.
Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor