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You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

  • 1.  You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-15-2020 03:49 PM
    I'm sure many of you are going to disagree with me, but I am so tired of political people, who have no experience what so ever in operating an early childhood center, saying that they want High Quality Childcare for every American child, with a well paid teachers and that it should be Affordable.   They say that childcare is too expensive for families and that it shouldn't cost so much.

    When you put the words "High Quality" and "Well Paid" in the same sentence with "Affordable" you obviously have no idea what it takes in terms of the associated cost in today's environment to own and operate an early childhood education center and then try to be high quality and provide your staff a good living wage.

    And now all of the candidates on the stage last night said that they want to get all of the 3-5 year olds into public schools for a free education and yet in the states where this is already happening, the school districts are not being required to follow the same rigorous standards from childcare licensing that those of us in the private sector are required to follow.  How is that safe or better for those students?

    I say that childcare today is not expensive enough if you truly want High Quality and well paid staff.  Most business owners in childcare will tell that the biggest expense of providing the childcare service is the labor cost and that is with many areas paying only between $8.00-$10.00 an hour without benefits.  The profit margins in childcare for a small or medium sized privately owned center are either break even or around 10%.  And in most cases, centers are limited on what they can charge for their services based on what families in their area can afford to pay.  Yes, some states already offer childcare subsidies to parents, but in many cases the subsidy is not paid at the same rate as what the childcare center actually charges and they are not allowed to collect the difference from the family, so they end up taking a loss on that particular child.

    In my area, the cost of childcare for an infant ranges from $95.00 per week up to $260.00 per week depending on what side of town you live on.  You can only imagine what type of program and services are provided by the center that charges $95.00 per week.  At that rate there is no way that they could pay their staff $11.00 - $15.00 per hour with benefits, pay for all of the required training, and all other associated costs of operating the center.  Now the place that charges $260.00 per week for an infant has a newer looking building, is able to send their staff for training which leads to higher quality care and they can probably afford to pay their staff a higher rate between $11.00-$13.00 per hour with limited benefits.  But again when you factor in the cost of a new building, liability insurance and other operating costs, their profit margins end up being low as well.  They too are limited to as to how much they can charge, because many people say they are too expensive although the quality of the care they are providing is Higher than the one that is charging $95.00 per week which considered affordable but in no way can be high quality.

    In order to get childcare teacher pay rates up to the $11-$15.00 an hour range with benefits, provide a high quality program by paying for more skilled training sessions for the staff or require the teaching staff to have bachelor degrees in early ed, every childcare center would have to significantly increase their weekly rates to cover the increased cost to them as a business.  It is unrealistic to think that you can get to a point of High Quality Affordable Child Care and better paid staff, by the childcare center charging less for their services.

    So my point is where will the money come from to cover the gap between a business actually needs to charge for their childcare service and what a family can afford to pay.  Will government funding simply be funneled to the school districts and then 3-5 year old's will no longer be found in private childcare centers, which would ultimately destroy those businesses?  Or will the government funding come directly to the childcare providers but at a rate that actually matches what they charge, with maybe the family paying a small portion?

    Who is ultimately going to determine what is the true actual cost per child to provide High Quality Childcare and what is the actual number that is considered "affordable" for a family to pay.

    I'm interested to hear other Director/Owners perspectives on this and from some of the leadership at NAEYC.

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 06:22 AM
    Tim, very well said.  As a Director, I understand the great points you stated.​

    ------------------------------
    Michael Ukhueduan-Talle
    New Hope Daycare Center
    Newark NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 01:24 PM
    Hello Michael,

    Thank you for response.  I have been attending the NAEYC Policy Forum in Washington D.C. each year for the past 4 years.  I bring this point up each time in the general forum meeting and when I finish making my statement, there is usually a round of applause from the audience.  One of my pet peeves with NAEYC, Department of Education (both at the Federal and State Levels) is that rarely if ever include (owner/operators) on the teams of "Professionals" that are put together to research and then make recommendations on what changes should be made to the childcare industry.  Although our main focus is to take care of and educate young children, at the end of the day, childcare is still a business whether is done in the public school model or in the private sector.  It has to be paid for by somebody whether that be the tax payers or the individual parents themselves.

    If you have never been to the NAEYC Policy Forum, I would encourage you to go at some point.  The next one is Feb 23rd-25th in D.C.  It's a great way to meet other people from around the country to hear how things are being handled in their states.  The first day on Sunday, there is an initial meet and greet and training for attendees that have not done advocacy work before.  On Monday they have the large meeting and that is where we get hear about and discuss different initiatives that NAEYC is working on.  Then on Tuesday, members from the individual states go to Capital Hill to meet with their states representatives.

    It would be nice to have more people at this Forum that would also be willing to speak out about the issues the private sector is facing as the government and NAEYC continue to push for the types of changes I mentioned earlier.

    Thanks again for your reply.

    Tim Kaminski

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 07:21 PM
    It would be nice for that forum to be streamed so many of us who cannot attend can listen in on the discussion.  In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, if we add the pre-school programs to the schools rather than keep them separated and continue with the curriculum then more could be done in the funding area.  Many children need that pre-school preparation in order to be able to be school ready by kindergarten so why not make it from birth to grade 12?  Should the owners of day cares choose to stay in business they could continue but abide by the same guidelines of the schools as far as readiness goes.  Yes that means higher education for some but in the longer run you are being very resourceful and productive.  I am interested on how all of this plays out.  Good success in your endeavors!

    ------------------------------
    Dianna Kuykendall
    Student
    UI
    Hayden ID
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 07:14 AM
    I agree Tim. We are a private preschool with 160 children. We are fortunate that the majority of our families pay full price and we have a strong scholarship fund that will pay up to 50% of tuition for families that need assistance. Our lead teachers all have their Masters in Early Childhood and our assistant teachers have a minimum of a C.D.A.  We are a church affiliated school and we pay a substantial donation to the church to cover cleaning costs and other services that the church needs.  All that being said, if you want to send your 4 year old to our school from 8:45 - 2:45, September - early June (we follow the public school calendar for school breaks) it will cost you $14,750.  We are quality but there is no way we can be what I would consider affordable.  Our salaries are high so we can hire and retain staff with college degrees. But there is no way we could be "quality" and affordable without major government subsidies, and we know that is never going to come down to early childhood

    ------------------------------
    Barabara Klein
    Director
    Huguenot Nursery School
    Pelham NY
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 02:03 PM
    Hello Barbara,

    Thank your for your reply.  When my children were little they went to a church based program as well.  The hours were 8:30 a.m to 1:30 pm.  I don't recall what we paid at the time, but I do know that the only overhead they had were the teachers and supplies.  The church only received a nominal payment to assist with utilities.  However, once my wife started working, we needed care from 7:00 a.m to 6:30 p.m and were no longer able to use the church program.  We had a very difficult time finding a childcare center that we were comfortable with near where we lived and we couldn't use my mother's daycare center because it was too far away from our home.  Eventually the Grandparents agreed to come and watch our kids in our home until they went to Kindergarten.

    I worked in the heath care industry before moving into ECE in 2008.  When I took over our families childcare business, the rates per week were between $95.00 to $110.00 based on the age groups.  My mom was just breaking even, although the clientele was all private pay.  In order for the "business" to afford me being there I had to restructure the fee scale and find other ways to raise additional revenue during the year.  It has now been 11 years and our rates are currently at $160.00 and $155.00 per week.  That is just barely a $5.00 per week increase each year for the past 10 years.  Each year that we raised the rate by $5.00 per week the parents raised all kinds of cane until I explained to them that basically they were paying $1.00 more per day or about .10 cents an hour since we have most of their children for at least 10 hours a day.  At that modest hourly rate increase, you can see how it would be difficult to give each staff member even a .25 cent per hour increase each year, even none of our other costs went up.

    We are now at a point were at the $160.00 rate we are considered the "most expensive" center in our immediate area, however our center looks great and we have staff that have been with us for $10, 15, & up to 30+ years.  The "less expensive" centers have high turn over in their staff and they don't maintain their facilities and all of that is reflected in their annual license inspection reports.

    I am hoping that by starting the original topic and by people like your self providing what their experience has been, just maybe we will be able to get the attention of NAEYC and others that are insisting on these major changes to our industry, so that we can be part of the discussions and solutions and not just the bearers of their sometimes uninformed decisions and mandates.

    Thank you again for your reply,

    Tim Kaminski

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 02:41 PM
    My children went to a cooperative preschool where costs were kept down as much as possible through the participation of parents in the classroom and in the upkeep of the school. Today, this is increasingly hard for families as most of the families are two-parent working families. Also, to help with affordability, the coop had a sliding scale tuition based on income.

    Sometime after my children finished their stay at the nursery school, I became the director, a position that I held for 9 and 1/2 years. As time passed, the sliding scale for tuition became too low at the upper end to cover expenses as costs rose. At one point, the Board realized that the scale needed adjustment so we could fill teaching positions as they emerged. But, for the most part, parents were unwilling to really deal with broadening the scale at the upper end, which meant the school became inexpensive for those in the upper level of the tuition scale, and which meant that we had to do some extensive fundraising.

    The sliding scale tuition was a wonderful, equitable solution to inequality in our society but it was a nightmare when it came to planning a budget. It was difficult to know how much money we would be bringing in to cover expenses, which included rent and salaries. Also, the sad truth was that over time, the vast majority of the families fell into the top of the tuition scale but were unwilling to approve raising the tuition at the upper end.  The reason most families fell into the top of the tuition scale was due to changes in our society in terms of dual working parents, which made the coop unusable for those earning less money and who would have been at the bottom of our sliding scale. Half-day programs are not very workable today. Also, we only hired fully certified teachers, which meant we had to pay enough (but not what they should have been paid) to attract teachers to our program. Our school had a stellar reputation in the surrounding community and in the State, so that helped in attracting and keeping the teachers we had.

    I guess what I am trying to point out is that managing community early childhood programs is a very difficult job and the current societal circumstances have made that job even more difficult. I wrote my dissertation about what it was like to be a Director of an early care and education program. The responsibilities of directors are complex and extensive. I interviewed 8 directors of NAEYC accredited centers.

    I have commented on drafts for Power to the Profession. The documents are admirable but without policy backup in order to implement their recommendations, NAEYC will have trouble getting policymakers to back their recommendations.

    Those from outside our professional association who make policy are generally unwilling to examine these economic issues and that is a shame!

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 03:10 PM
    Hello Nora,

    Thank you for your reply.  Unfortunately people within the field of education, whether it be ECE, Primary and Secondary or Higher ED (Academia) refuse to acknowledge or except that educating and caring for students of any age is a business whether it is in a private setting or public setting.  The primary purpose of the business is to educate students, but that takes money and lots of it.  If the general and basic principles of business are not applied to the field of ECE, the goals that NAEYC and other ECE advocates are trying to achieve are doomed to fail.  You can't have more money going out, than you have coming in.  You can't maintain Quality within constantly reinvesting in your business and you can't grow your business and lower your cost without the economy of scale.  Based on your comments above, I believe this is exactly what happened to the program where you previously at.

    These are the kinds of stories that NAEYC and others need to hear about.  In that situation and with all the changes they are proposing, how would they have fixed that situation?

    I lot of these NAEYC decisions and recommendations get reviewed and discussed at the annual NAEYC Policy Forum in D.C.  The next one is in February.  If you haven't been to the Forum before, it would be nice to have another person there speaking out about this topic.  Many times I am the only one to bring it up, however afterwards many people in the audience seem to agree with my assessment, but just were not comfortable speaking about it.  I don't mind opening doors, but I sure would like to see a lot more people come rushing through once that door is open.

    Thanks again for your comments.

    Tim Kaminski




    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 09:10 AM
    Tim, you are precisely right on.  As a field, we hold each back as well, but intentionally keeping our rates and salaries low so families can afford it.  Until we stop subsidizing the cost of care on the backs of our employees, providing "discounts" to families when they aren't even paying the full cost of care, parents and employers (bc they can't get employees) will never actively advocate for a systems change.  This was released yesterday and gives a state by state pic of what it really would cost per child to do true high quality child care:  https://www.epi.org/publication/ece-in-the-states/?fbclid=IwAR0oQWp8h3gSiZTqY4foFnOoSx6VZHRywGhcuCow4jGwQkgmHatem2pyRUM#/Pennsylvania

    ------------------------------
    Diana Verbeck
    Executive Director
    Danville Child Development Center
    Danville PA
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 10:15 AM
    Tim certainly has defined the issue quite well.

    In all schools, as well as libraries, salaries/labor costs are the largest part of the budget. In 1995, there was a study on cost, quality, and childcare outcomes. It was enlightening. Many people are under the impression that you can make a "profit" from running a childcare center. That is a myth unless you underpay your employees or charge enough to allow you to pull money from the center as profit.

    I do believe the handwriting is on the wall about the absorption of prekindergarten, including 3-year-olds, into the public school systems. And, in many cases, public schools are creating programs for three and four-year-olds without contracting with community centers. This will affect the survival of the community not for profit and for-profit childcare centers.

    There are many things that impact the quality of an early childhood program but the teachers and assistant teachers who are in the classroom are pivotal. You can rarely hire highly qualified teachers to work in your center if the pay is not commensurate with the knowledge and skills they bring to your program. Also important is the choices about how the classrooms are structured and the philosophy, mission, and values of the centers. These often reflect the quality of the programs offered and how decisions are made about who works with the children in the classroom.

    I, too, am really surprised that public schools remain in their silo when it comes to programs for our youngest children, and that, in most cases, the public schools are not required to meet the same standards in terms of ratios and group sizes as community childcare centers. Ultimately, just as happened with kindergarten, I think most programs for our youngest children, especially three and four-year-olds will be provided through the public school systems. We will always have some community offered early childhood centers but they will have to match the quality of or exceed the quality level of whatever is offered in the public schools in order to survive.

    I am sorry but I am a pessimist about the situation. I have been involved with early childhood education since the late 1960s.

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 02:53 PM
    Hello Diana,

    Thank you for your reply.  I just went to the link you provided and finished reading the article.  This is exactly the type of information I have been looking for to help clarify what I have been saying.  My frustration with NAEYC and other groups is that no one is advocating for the funding up front.  My concern is that expectation for the increase in pay and decrease in ratios will be mandated prior to the funding issues being worked out.  Also, so far in Texas, the new monies that were allocated for ECE in the state has been funneled to the school districts with the intention of them taken on the 3, 4, & 5 years olds full time.  Most childcare centers would not be able to stay in business, if the 3, 4 & 5 years are diverted to the public school systems with any increases in Federal or State funding.  In the last 4 years that I have attended the NAEYC conference, I have not once heard them address how or where the funding was going to come from and who within the field of ECE would get those funds in order to increase staff pay and decrease how much the families pay.

    If you have not attended the Annual NAEYC Policy Forum in D.C. I would encourage you to go at some point to get another perspective on how the various groups are approaching the issues facing ECE.  The next Forum is this  February.

    Thank you again for your reply,

    Tim Kaminski

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-17-2020 12:19 PM
    This is a good resource. I found the website a little confusing to navigate, so if it's helpful to others... Where the link says Pennsylvania, click on the word Pennsylvania and you'll get a drop down list for all other states so you can navigate to yours.

    ------------------------------
    Amy Gottschamer
    Executive Director
    Googols of Learning Child Development Center
    Lawrence KS
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 09:55 AM
    I definitely agree with you, Tim!

    As with everything, you pay for what you get.

    My program is able to provide affordable rates because we are a parent participation program and parents also "pay" with their volunteer time in the classroom/school.  Our teachers are paid well (between $25 and $40 per hour) but we are unable to provide benefits.  So though I am well paid, I have to pay for insurance out of pocket (which is about a third of my income - don't get me started on "affordable" health care!), and living in the expensive Silicon Valley area means I am paycheck to paycheck.  Other teachers at my school are either in the same boat or lucky to be living off their spouse's wage in more well paid industries so their own income is "bonus money."  In the past, I have worked for larger programs that pay even better than my current rate and I did receive benefits and parents in those programs were paying upwards of $20,000 per year.

    I have never worked for a program that used subsidized funds and understand from folks I network with that the paperwork required to provide subsidized care is almost prohibitive in itself as an administrator.  It sounds like there are quite a lot of hoops to jump through to get that money.

    In California, the implementation of Transitional Kindergarten (TK) for children who turn 5 between September and December has all but killed private Pre-K class enrollments.  I understand why parents choose free TK public school classes over paying for programming but it still hurts.  I worry immensely about how our enrollment will be affected if our state/country starts implementing free preschool for all 4-year-olds or 3-year-olds.  Will programs like mine be forced to become infant-toddler programs?  Can we survive?  (And in addition to this, I am concerned about the public sector taking over early childhood programming for the sake of the children.  I see what our public K-12 system looks like and I am not satisfied, so how can I trust them to provide quality care and education for younger children?)

    Anyway, all of this to say that I fully agree with you that our politicians involvement in ECE is incredibly worrisome.


    ------------------------------
    Sherrie Rose Mayle
    Director/Teacher
    Campbell Parents' Participation Preschool
    Campbell, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 07:04 PM
    Hello Sherrie,

    Thank you for your reply.  11 years ago I left a corporate job with full benefits, to come and help my mom operate our families childcare business.  At the time we had about 15 employees, our fees were very low and most of our staff either didn't have any insurance or used their spouses and my mom and dad had insurance from my mom's retirement from previously working for the Texas Hwy Department.  Since we didn't have any health insurance for our business, my wife and I had to try to find an outside plan for us and our two kids.  We went from paying around $400.00 a month for a family plan with my old company, to over $1,200.00 a month with higher deductibles than we had ever seen before.  Over the last 11 years I have been able to raise our rates from a low $95 - $110 per week to a current rate of $155 - $160.00. So basically a $5.00 per week increase per year over the last 10 years.  With each $5.00 increase parents complained.

    We do take subsidized students into our program, however the subsidy program does not reimburse us at the actual rate that we charge, therefore we lose $20-$30 per week on each subsidized child, and we are not allowed to collect the difference from the parent so we end up limiting the number of subsidized students we can take into the program.

    When I have spoken with political leaders and ECE Advocates about our concerns regarding the finances, they always get stuck on looking at the front end number which is the rates we charge and just express that its "too" expensive for families.  However they never consider the back end costs of providing that care to those same families as if magically some how were just going to make childcare "less expensive".

    The article below was sent to me today and is a good representation of what it would cost to achieve the goals that NAEYC and the political leaders are saying we should be doing for families and staff.     https://www.epi.org/publication/ece-in-the-states/?fbclid=IwAR0oQWp8h3gSiZTqY4foFnOoSx6VZHRywGhcuCow4jGwQkgmHatem2pyRUM#/Pennsylvania

    Thank you again for your response.

    Tim Kaminski

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-17-2020 07:43 AM
    Tim, I entirely agree with your statement that politicians aren't looking at the back end of providing the service.  However, our US Congressman, Senator Casey, visited my program last year after doing a listening tour of how the cost of child care effects families. His intent in his visit/tour to my program was to find out why it is so expensive to provide high quality child care and what the barriers are to providing it.  He walked away with a lot of data and info.  He's been a long time advocate for early childhood, and I hope more will take his lead.

    ------------------------------
    Diana Verbeck
    Executive Director
    Danville Child Development Center
    Danville PA
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-17-2020 02:20 PM
    Hi Sherrie, Tim and everyone else-
    I am grateful to have found this thread.    I am located in Nassau County, NY very close to the NYC border.  I have operated one location (170+ enrollment), mostly private pay, with a 6+ month waiting list for 20 years.  I recently opened a second location at the request of my parish priest to help support a church in a low income community.     Sherrie - I am experiencing exactly what you are fearing.   Thanks to NYC Mayor DiBlasio, Universal Pre-k now extends down to three year olds.  My 2nd location is just a few blocks from the NYC border.   The first year and every year since Universal Pre-K began,  I lose 95% of my three year olds to Universal Pre-K .   Not only that but NYC hired everyone in the field at higher wages and benefits than I could ever afford.  AND NYC new minimum wage of $15 (moving up over the past 3-4 years from under $10 an hour) brings in basically high school students with no experience as employees.  Just a few years ago, Lead teachers were starting at $15.   Add to all this, the 2nd location is mostly Govt subsidized and Govt reimbursement has gone up less than 5% total over the past three years.

    So lets see- 30 to 40% increase in wages, maybe 5% increase in revenue.  Totally not a sustainable situation.     And those who mentioned are right on when you talk about quality of education and care.    Since Universal Pre-K is not subject to Child Care regulations, there are more children in rooms, less teachers and asst teachers and not even close to the health and safety regs we have to follow for 3 and 4 year olds.

    I have spend the last 20 years building a premier school and now am afraid I will have to leave my passion ( and my own children's legacy) and just get out.  I have written to many government officials in NYS and local areas.   No one really cares.

    DiAnn
    Owner/Operator
    Kids Campus Early Childhood Learning Centers

    ------------------------------
    DiAnn Belluccia
    Executive Director
    Kids Campus
    Lynbrook NY
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 01:51 PM
    Tim,
    You are absolutely correct about the cost of quality care. We are down the road from you in Lake Jackson, TX. We are a community college program that receives support from the college to provide a high quality child care program for students, employees and community children.
    There was an attempt by Texans Care for Children to establish a formula for what the actual cost of quality care is. The information is probably available from Children's Learning Institute at UT Health Houston. It was members of their staff that worked on it. But, as you know the cost of care in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin will be very different from McAllen,  Amarillo, El Paso and Beaumont.
    My concern about the public schools taking on 3 and 4 year olds is that there are not many teachers that have been adequately trained in early childhood. Plus the schools seem poorly equipped to take this on. Putting 3 and 4 year olds on busses is especially challenging and there was much confusion at the beginning of school this year at a nearby school district. If you look at the content of the classes offered in Bachelor's Degree programs they do not include very many early childhood classes.
    This dilemma or trilemma has been discussed for over 40 years and there has not been any real progress in solving the issue. Everyone knows it's there, but no one has found a solution.

    Christine Webster
    May Children's Center
    Brazosport College
    Lake Jackson, TX

    ------------------------------
    Christine Webster
    Director
    Brazosport College Children's Center
    Lake Jackson TX
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 07:09 PM
    Hi Christine,

    Thank you for your reply.  You are correct that pay rates for staff across our state vary significantly based on what we can charge for childcare which is based on the income levels in the various communities.  Below is a link to an article that was sent to me today, that lays out pretty much what it would actually cost to be able to provide High Quality Care, raise pay rates for staff and lower what parents would be paying.  It is all based on a huge government subsidy program that wouldn't necessarily be guaranteed to get to us in the privately owned centers.

     https://www.epi.org/publication/ece-in-the-states/?fbclid=IwAR0oQWp8h3gSiZTqY4foFnOoSx6VZHRywGhcuCow4jGwQkgmHatem2pyRUM#/Pennsylvania


    Let me know what you think after you read the article.

    Thanks.

    Tim Kaminski

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 05:14 PM

    I think what the candidates are saying is the same as you. It is an impossibility without government funding to support early childhood education. That is what these candidates want to make happen.

    Sara Nicholson
    EHS Lead Teacher
    Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties


    We empower people living in poverty to reach economic stability.





  • 20.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-16-2020 07:18 PM
    Hi Sara,

    Thank you for your reply.  I agree they are saying they want to make this happen, however they can never put an actual number to what it would cost to achieve the High Quality and increased pay for staff.  Below is an article that was sent to me today that actually spells out what the true costs would be to provide High Quality, Raise Staff pay, and lower the cost to families.  Also currently most of the federal and state funding that is available is funneled to the public school systems and head start and does not reach private, local, small childcare centers where many of these students currently attend programs.  They have to understand that if funding is not made available to all types of ECE provider programs, there will several ECE childcare centers out of business which will put an even bigger strain on the public school systems.

    https://www.epi.org/publication/ece-in-the-states/?fbclid=IwAR0oQWp8h3gSiZTqY4foFnOoSx6VZHRywGhcuCow4jGwQkgmHatem2pyRUM#/Pennsylvania

    Thanks again for your response.

    Tim Kaminski

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-17-2020 07:26 AM
    Tim,

    As with others I agree and thank you for the discussion. Before entering teacher education in higher education ten years ago, I was employed in the private, for-profit child care sector. The program I directed paid teachers well, and offered benefits but the tuition parents paid was high. Ten years ago your statement was true - and as others who have replied to this thread attest, it is even more true today. The "business" side of the early education is not covered well in teacher education.  UMF's program continues to offer early education administration and students get a shock when they enter the world of balancing a budget. In Maine the certified early ed workforce are leaving to teach in public Pre-K - grade 3 because of wages and benefits, a workforce movement that is not benefiting the B-5 children and families of Maine. And then there are the 0-3 workforce issues.

    The state government of Maine put together a Children's Cabinet with an Advisory Council that is beginning the difficult work of finding solutions to your question. But any solution must involve all parties, including for-profit and family care to succeed. I know other states are putting groups together - does anyone have insights regarding what is happening out there?










    ------------------------------
    Donna Karno
    Associate Professor
    University of Maine, Farmington
    Farmington ME
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-17-2020 01:22 PM
    Tim,

    Hear, hear.  I agree with EVERYTHING you said.  Here in Florida we have been advocating diligently for funding and proper Readiness rates for years (still no luck).  I am always hopeful to find an educated politician that knows that the way to get these children ready is to start in Early Childhood.  It continually floors me how so many ignore the area of Early Childhood Education and only focus on K through 12.

    ------------------------------
    Colleen Regan-O'Hara
    Director
    Happy Acres Ranch
    Jacksonville FL
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-21-2020 05:16 PM

    Hello Tim,

    Edit: I'm adding another reply below, because I completely forgot to address one of the most important points regarding everything below in your post. This portion of the reply is about why I believe that the eventual answer will involve predominantly publicly funded early childhood education, which isn't the same, in my opinion, as shutting down every school that isn't currently publicly funded.

    I think when most of us talk about high quality childcare for every American child, we're talking about a situation in which capitalism and class cease to be the obstacles. This doesn't mean "at the expense of preschool teachers" - to me, it means a shift in how we as a country organize education.

    Every professor I can think of who's spoken to me on the subject supports, for example, both a Worthy Wage and Universal Pre-K. We're asking for government subsidies that provide not only childcare, but childcare and early childhood education provided by high-quality teachers earning a worthy wage.

    This falls in line with NAEYC's principles regarding equity. Even past the pre-K stage, public school (in my state) is often funded based on property taxes within the school district, which creates an enormous disparity in education.

    So these facts are true:

    1. You cannot demand "High-Quality" early childhood education without demanding a worthy wage for teachers.

    And

    2. You cannot say "Only the wealthiest children in America deserve education."

    To short cut past another political conversation: No matter what your personal beliefs on wealth and personal worth, deserving, or hard work are, the children and what they deserve has nothing to do with their parents.

    So how do we reconcile those two points?

    My answer points toward a rearrangement of equitably government-funded, high quality, well-paying early childhood education programs across the board.

    I deserve a worthy wage, but I don't believe that poor parents shouldn't have access to my work, and the answer to that conundrum lies in advocacy.

    When we put "high quality" and "affordable" education in the same sentence, what many of us mean is "affordable to families," not "no one should foot a reasonable bill." We can all do our best individually, but eventually it would feel like the impossible being demanded. I can understand the frustration of hearing it over and over if it is framed as your program's entirely independent problem to solve.

    ------------------------------
    Justice Ross
    Child Development Undergraduate Student
    Los Angeles Valley College
    North Hollywood, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 30 days ago
    Hi Justice thank you for your reply,

    It's great to see a college student getting involved in the conversation.  The premise of the original feed is that regardless of where ECE services are provided, there will need to a substantial amount of outside money put into the system in order for wages to be increased, for there to better trained staff in the classroom so that there is a high level of quality service being provided to the children, while at the same time not driving up the cost of childcare to the point that families cannot afford the care regardless if they are low income, middle income, or otherwise.  Many are advocating  for "free universal Pre-K" for all children.  While that sounds great, Universal Pre-K would only address the needs of those 3-5 year old children from the hours of 7:30 to 2:30 which is a typical school day in the public school system.  To say that Free Universal Pre-K would allow parents to go back to work, does not address what would happen with those students before and after-school.  The majority of families that work need childcare from 6:30 to 6:30 which is why the early childhood care industry was created to begin with.  The public school systems were never intended to function this way, and because current K-12 programs across the United States are historically underfunded both by the Federal and State Governments, its laughable to think you could put another layer of educational expectations on that system and it would be funded at an appropriate level to meet the needs of these new students ages 3-5 on their campuses.  Over the last 50 years if they haven't made any substantial increases in pay for public school teachers and increased the per student funding to meet the increased financial demands on school districts, I can one reasonably expect that they will follow through on approving funding for Universal Pre-K regardless of the setting that Universal Pre-K would occur.

    The other problem is that "Universal Prer-K" only addresses  one aspect of what most families are facing with regards to findiing "Affordable High Quality Childcare".  It does nothing to address the cost for full 12 hour per day care for children 6 wks to 3 years or after-school care for students ages 5-12.  The true costs of providing high quality care for those age groups are astronomical, and there are no current government funded childcare subsidies that come even close to reimbursing families or providers for what they are actually charging for the service.

    In the real world, Ideological, theoretical,  or collegial discussions about what is "optimum" or "best practices" in any subject matter can only be seriously considered if there have also been deep rooted discussion about the resources that are needed and available to implement, carry out, and sustain those "best practices once they have been initiated or mandated that others will be responsible for meeting those expectations.

    I will be posting a new feed later this afternoon, that concretely lays out the actual true financial costs of providing high quality care and what financially will be needed from the government to achieve everything that is being proposed  by NAEYC and promised by certain politicians in the current political environment.

    Good luck with your studies and please consider adding at least one or two general business studies classes to your degree plan.  Whether you go into teaching after graduation or some other field, having a good understanding of basic business principles and practices, will help you tremendously as you work towards making significant and meaningful changes to our world.

    Thanks again for your interest and reply.

    ------------------------------
    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-21-2020 05:29 PM
    I'm replying again because I didn't answer your biggest concerns about publicly funded early childhood education for all in my response entirely about it. I intended to; that was a complete oversight.

    I've never run a preschool, only worked inside of several. What makes you concerned that government funding for good education will run private preschools out of business? Personally, I see no reason why those schools wouldn't ultimately be able to also apply for government funding in many cases. If they don't follow government standards and are private for that reason, then I don't imagine a demand for alternative education will go away even if public education is high-quality, but I'm interested in the administrative concerns you understand that I don't yet, because that informs this conversation.

    It sounds like we're trying to talk about how government funding will be divided, which I somehow misinterpreted in my above reply as whether it should be included in the solution at all.

    Choice is important. I wonder if there's any existing discussion about more assistance for families seeking private education- more subsidized funding for scholarships not provided by the school, for example.

    ------------------------------
    Justice Ross
    Child Development Undergraduate Student
    Los Angeles Valley College
    North Hollywood, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-21-2020 07:10 PM
    Justice Ross -

    I've never run a preschool, only worked inside of several. What makes you concerned that government funding for good education will run private preschools out of business?

    Private preschools will go out of business without a doubt unless the govt immediately subsidizes infant and two year old care substantially.   I am in this exact position right now.    The answer relates to early childhood centers running breakeven to a loss on infant care because the number of teachers to students required.   Two year olds generate barely enough to cover costs as well.   So in my situation, in NY,  Universal Pre-K is now available for 3 year olds and up.   Not only did the government not subsidize care for children under 3,  they increased minimum wage from $10 an hour to $15 an hour which is a 50% increase in wages.   Wage expense accounts for over 50 % of total incoming revenue in a child care center.    The math is very simple.  The school is no longer sustainable.     I am only surviving because I am in a church connected program and I am serving the community.   As an owner (with my own money invested to built and repair the school building) and director, I haven't pulled a salary in two years.  My ability to continue to carry the school is declining and I am certain to close up in 2020.     I run a full curriculum program beginning with teaching infants manners, sign language etc.  The community will suffer because only unlicensed home care will be available for children under 3.

    Personally, I see no reason why those schools wouldn't ultimately be able to also apply for government funding in many cases.
    There is no government funding available.

    If they don't follow government standards and are private for that reason, then I don't imagine a demand for alternative education will go away even if public education is high-quality, but I'm interested in the administrative concerns you understand that I don't yet, because that informs this conversation.   Not sure about California but thinking its the same as NY,  there is no such thing as not following govt standards.   The state would shut the school down if they were not following standards. 


    The NYS government made loudly touted, "public pleasing" policy changes without looking at the impact on:

    1.  The many regulated businesses that currently exist and employ staff who then will put out of business.  Just for the record, less staff is required under Govt run Universal Pre-K programs, less job opportunities.  

    2.  The impact on the families-Many Universal Pre-K programs end at 3pm so working families have to find alternate care/transportation to care if they can't pick up early 

    3. The quality of care provided to children.  Three year olds need nurturing and sometimes ;) a lot of attention.   With less staff in a classroom, I am not sure that is attainable.    The requirements and standards under Universal Pre-K are considerably less in comparison to existing day care regulations.   Its like reinventing the wheel with childrens well-being and safety in question.  Is the State going to wait for bad things to happen and then change the rules and enforce to current standards?

    I would love to print this thread and forward to our state government since everyone in it has valid concerns. ( I would remove the names of course )  Anyone know if printing the thread is possible? 
    ------------------------------
    DiAnn Belluccia
    Executive Director
    Kids Campus
    Lynbrook NY
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 01-21-2020 10:20 PM
    DiAnn-

    Thank you so much for your informative response.

    Re: "There is no government funding available," I want to clarify that this is what I want to change, not something I am expecting directors to do already. I think that what shape future legislation takes is worth discussing, and my question is about how to make government funding available to more schools. Ultimately, I want to remove of the influence of class as a barrier to enrollment in quality early childhood education programs-and under America's economic system as it stands, government funding as a major part of the puzzle seems, to me, like the only way to accomplish that.

    Doing that involves taxpayers coming together and deciding that this is a priority, and then educators and lawmakers meeting together together to decide what that funding looks like.

    My question about whether private schools would later be able to apply for government funding would be better worded as: What should legislation look like, on a technical level, to help children in poverty or low socio-economic brackets attend quality early childhood education centers in a way that currently-private schools can participate in/transition into?

    I don't believe that equity comes at the inherent expense of directors, educators, and staff working right now in the private sector, even if some kind of transition needs to be made.

    Regarding standards, I have definitely heard that being less constrained by certain standards is a reason some parents prefer private schools or homeschooling. Is there something I'm missing? I am not against standards that are made well, and perhaps modeled differently from some current ones in my state, and I favor reforming public school as a solution over solely moving to private school and leaving those left in the public sector to fend for themselves, but I understand the need and wanted to address it.

    ------------------------------
    Justice Ross
    Child Development Undergraduate Student
    Los Angeles Valley College
    North Hollywood, CA
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 30 days ago
    Thank you for all of the different ideas and support on this topic.  I have been in the private center field for over 25 years.  I have been a director for the past 12 years.  The landscape of the field has changed drastically.  Running a center requires a long day, low pay and constant staffing issues.  Those of us still here, do it for the kids.  Not to sound cliche.  There is very little government support, at least in our state.  For those families that qualify, maybe $20.00 a day, based on the age.  There are some groups of children that we can't even charge to make up the difference.  We try to keep the rates competitive with the numerous other centers in the area.  Our issue has been finding staff that are willing to work with children.  I am not sure that government funding is going to solve the problem, but I am not sure what is.

    ------------------------------
    Cynthia Bohrer
    Director
    Kids International Early Childhood Education Cente
    Ellisville MO
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 30 days ago
    In New Jersey, there is a set of standards that all community-based programs are supposed to meet in order to be allowed to operate. I do not know about the rest of the country. I understand there are States where there are no established standards for operating an early care and education school. Do I believe that all the licensed centers are equal if they meet these standards - no, I do not. But when I was a director of a not for profit cooperative preschool, the inspecting officer from the Department of Families would come in and sit down and watch what was happening in the classrooms. This particular person made a remark that he wanted to stay awhile because he needed to see a center where the standards were clearly followed and then some.

    There is a tremendous variation in philosophy and structure between centers and what the impact of this variation is. I am not sure that the field has confronted this issue well enough, although NAEYC is trying hard to do so.

    There is a tension between many aspects of early care and education schools/centers: the tension over trying to make a profit in a for-profit environment is one. Another tension that plays out from this first one is tuition and teacher pay in order to ensure a profit. These tensions affect choices about who is hired and how/what they are paid. This does not mean that all not-for-profit centers are wonderful, but their orientation toward the profit motive somewhat ameliorates these tensions.

    And, I agree that when more and more children are covered by the government, such as NYC is doing, the care of infants and toddlers, which are infinitely more expensive increasingly becomes untenable - regardless of whether you run a for-profit or not-for-profit center. Care and education for infants and toddlers is much more labor-intensive.

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 30.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 30 days ago

    Nora,

    I do understand what your saying about the profit v non-profit motive. But the industry, at least by me, is almost at a non profit earnings level for private schools as well.

    As many others in this thread, as an owner and full time plus employee I work very long days, sometimes nights and weekends and the financial and liability risk is solely on me.  With 20 years experience,  I am at least entitled to a directors salary.  So obviously I am not doing it for the profit, which doesn't even exist at my one location.    I do find that the profit motive has distinct advantages in motivating people to be the best they can be.    I treat my employees well and reward them for their efforts, which is more like a profit sharing model.    Some might be upset with my saying this, but I sometimes feel that motivation is a bit lower at a non-profit because of its very nature.  So I think there is validity and some benefit with a for-profit model.

    The bigger issue is government assistance is needed for both schools and families.    I remember at some point NYS used to subsidize teachers salaries at non-profits.    Then non-profits had a very distinct advantage over for-profits in attracting and retaining quality staff.  I would gladly support direct supplement to teachers salaries.  However, it was eliminated a few years back and as a result the profession as a whole is suffering.

    Families need more assistance as well.  A single mom making over $15 an hour which is now minimum wage here begins to lose benefits.   Who could survive in NYC on $15 a hour salary let alone have to pay for childcare.  They are being penalized for working.   Its more beneficial for them to not work and collect welfare.

    Sorry I'm so pessimistic, I am just really frustrated that politicians and govt are so unaware.   It's only getting worse.



    ------------------------------
    DiAnn Belluccia
    Executive Director
    Kids Campus
    Lynbrook NY
    ------------------------------



  • 31.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 30 days ago
    I agree with you. NY, as far as I know, did not supplement salaries for not for profit centers but that is really not the issue. What I am trying to say is that you cannot make much of a profit from a for-profit center unless you cut somewhere. You confirmed this. We need some kind of seamless system supporting all early care and education. We also need to make sure that the quality we offer to all is high, that it is not just the well-off financially who get to send their children to high-quality programs.

    ------------------------------
    Nora Krieger, PhD
    Associate Professor Emerita/Past Chair NJEEPRE
    Bloomfield College/NJ Educators Exploring the Practices of Reggio Emilia
    Highland Park, NJ
    ------------------------------



  • 32.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 29 days ago
    Maybe we need to look at another factor to add to High quality teaching in the ECE sector which is: well trained teachers/educators. This means more finances to add to the account before we get to affordable services. I cannot see that quality care and education of young children can function without teachers being well trained. The medical profession will not think about NOT appointing well trained doctors and pharmacists. This means they get salaries to match the training they have. The public except this and pay them for their services. We as teachers in the ECE sector, need to be well trained as we work with more than little people's lives as the medical profession do, we work with the young child in totality. How is it possible that governments go to such lengths to get schemes in place to provide people with medical care but are not concerned about schemes for providing affordable ECE services for all citizens?
    Just asking!!!

    ------------------------------
    Sophia Breytenbach
    me
    Breytenbach Center for Education
    Pretoria
    ------------------------------



  • 33.  RE: You can't put High Quality & Well Paid Staff in The Same Sentence with Affordable

    Posted 29 days ago
    Hi all
    I've been following this conversation and feel compelled to weigh in. The strain and frustration expressed by owners and Directors is real and justified and the very reason we need to re-imagine our approach to child care and early learning in the US.
    Imagine government subsidies and policies that support affordable access to high quality services delivered by well-paid staff, where these concepts are inextricably linked so that all children and families have equitable access to engaging and nurturing environments that fully meet their needs without having to cobble multiple arrangements together to make their lives work.  An environment where individual programs don't have to apply or compete for government funding. Where preschool and part day programs are not treated as a separate system from full-day, full year services. Where enrollment isn't driven by a family's socio-economic status - where all children attend together. Imagine an integrated mixed delivery system of child care and early learning for children from infancy through entry to the public K-12 system that is driven by parent choice and provider expertise not government contracts.
    I believe that government has the responsibility to set and monitor standards that ensure children are safe, healthy, happy and developing well in every setting where  subsidies are used. I think that programs have the responsibility to develop and deliver high quality, sustainable programs (and that includes sufficient well-qualified staff that stay in place and provide continuity of care and relationships) at a price that supports the full cost of that quality. Who better than experienced program owners and Directors to determine that cost? Who better than parents to choose what works for them and their children? We can create a government program that expands subsidies to help all families pay for child care and early learning (which are always one and the same to young children) and allows mixed delivery systems of public and private programs develop in accord with the assets and challenges in local communities.
    The Child Care and Development Block Grant is a federal program that could be re-envisioned, re-authorized and much more robustly funded to make that happen. The variability you hear in these responses is an indicator that insufficient investment in that program, by the federal government and by state and local partners,  is constraining the expansion and aspiration necessary to re-invent an integrated mixed delivery system without completely disrupting what already exists.
    We are at a pivotal time in our nation's relationship to child care policy. I've been in this field nearly forty years. I never imagined I'd still be around to hear presidential candidates talk about child care in a national debate - but we're there. As a field and an industry that care about and care for young children and their families we need to be part of the conversation that shapes what universal access to child care and preschool means in this country. We need to imagine a better world under a big tent where we all fit and where all young children and their families have affordable access to the excellent services they need to thrive. It's possible.
    Thanks for bringing this up, Tim. Let's all imagine and strive for best possible public policy and investment.

    ------------------------------
    Reeva Murphy
    Early Care and Learning Consultant
    Heart of a Child
    Stowe VT
    ------------------------------