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Early Education Workers in NYC Want Better Pay After Being Forced to Seek Public Assistance

Despite an increased emphasis on early education, early education workers in New York City are reportedly earning less than the new minimum wage standards set for food industry workers recently supported by the city.

“ After nearly three decades on the job, Debra Johnson, an assistant Pre-K teacher at a city-funded early learning center, earns an annual income of $27,000 — or $13.94 an hour — about $3,000 less than assistant teachers with the same degree would earn in a public school in their first year,” according to an article from DNA Info.

Early childhood educators in the city that oversees the country’s largest public school system, the article says, are being forced to seek public assistance to make ends meet after not seeing a raise after ten years on the job.

Michelle Paige is director “of seven centers and a network of home based providers for East Harlem’s Union Settlement Association — the city’s 10th largest early childhood education provider,” and says the morale among for early childhood teachers and aides is low due to the financial struggle.

“Educators at these city-funded community-based organizations work longer days and don’t have summers off. Yet, their starting salaries are between 9 to 38 percent lower than DOE teachers. They've been without a raise in 10 years as they wait for a new contract,” the article said.

This has led 45 EarlyLearn providers to reach out to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for help better pay the workers- of which 61 percent are “below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.”

The Hechinger Report reported earlier this week that 2015 was the year for early education, with groundbreaking legislation supporting early ed programs on a national scale. For early education workers in New York City, though, they hope that 2016 will be the year of better pay and support.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

12/29/2015

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