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True Cost of High Quality ECE programs Estimated at $34,000 Annually Per Child

  • 1.  True Cost of High Quality ECE programs Estimated at $34,000 Annually Per Child

    Posted 01-23-2020 07:57 PM
    This is a follow up post to the thread I started last week saying that "You Can't Put the Words High Quality, Well Paid Staff, and Affordable all in the same sentence."  Below is a link sent to me by one of the people that responded in support of what I have been saying for the past 4 years as NAEYC has been promoting "Power to the Profession" and the politicians have been jumping on the band wagon for "Free Universal Pre-K" and "Affordable Childcare" for all Americans and increased wages for staff.

    The link is about a study done in Pennsylvania as to what the True Cost of Child Care would be if all of the relevant pieces of the service delivery model were accounted for and calculated.  By there best estimates, the cost to provide High Quality Childcare with all of the proposals that are currently being fought for, would end up being around $34,000.00 per child annually.  Divide that by 52 weeks per year and you get tuition cost of almost $653.84 per week.  In some cases that would either be double or triple what most child care providers currently charge per week for childcare.  There is no way low income or high income families could afford to pay that amount, nor would they even be willing to if they could.  Folks these are real numbers.  Not pie in the sky dreams created by people that have never been responsible for making, delivering or meeting a budget for a childcare center.  That would include creating a budget for those programs that would occur in the public school system.

    The article details, how they derived this $34,000 amount based on what it would take in Pennsylvania.  In other parts of the country it could be higher or lower depending on the economics of a community.  After you read the article link, let me know what you think and if you find any flaws or discrepancies in how they came to this number.

    I also would like a representative of NAEYC to way in on this discussion as the "Power to the Profession" initiative will have direct impacts on the significant increase to the cost of providing "High Quality" ECE programs across the United States.

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

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    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
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  • 2.  RE: True Cost of High Quality ECE programs Estimated at $34,000 Annually Per Child

    Posted 01-25-2020 03:39 PM
    Tim, thank you for the link to the PA study.  I'm not sure the assumption of 52 weeks / year is practical, here in WA State we do roughly 41 weeks of instruction (breaking for Summer Vacation in late June and returning shortly after Labor Day.)  Using the 41-week divisor, your cost jumps from $653.85 to $829.27 -- even farther out of an affordable range.  There is also the risky issue of ECE staff burnout --- it makes no sense to flirt with burning out a teacher --- from the newest graduate to a veteran ---  by increasing their workloads, for the performance of which they are already grossly underpaid.  Instructional personnel require time for rest and rejuvenation, just like their students do.  Locally, our county is in the middle of a bond election appeal, asking voters to raise their tax levies by about one-third of one percent, just to keep up with expenses of maintenance and operations.   And this, in the capital city of Washington State.  No teacher nor child can operate well in a leaky shack.

    Brad Butler
    Volunteer Teaching Assistant and Paraeducator student
    Meadows Elementary School
    Olympia, WA

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    Brad Butler
    Volunteer Teaching Assistant and Paraeducator student
    Meadows Elementary School
    Olympia, WA
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  • 3.  RE: True Cost of High Quality ECE programs Estimated at $34,000 Annually Per Child

    Posted 01-26-2020 03:20 PM
    Hi Brad,

    Thank you for your reply.  Unfortunately, for those of us in ECE that provide services for working families, we do not get the summer months off, so we are a 52 week program yearly.  Our staff get 10 paid holidays and can earn up to 1 week of vacation annually after they have been with us for a year.  In a lot of cases we have the children/students for up to 12 hours a day, versus a 6 hour day in the public school system so our teachers are always with their group of kids.  We run two different 8 hour shifts so there is some over-lap mid day with some of the staff to provide bathroom breaks and lunch breaks.  A typical ECE worker in our hour usually only stays at the same childcare center for 2-3 years.  Many don't even make it the first 12 months because we either determine they are not a good fit or they decide it is too much work for what they are getting paid.  Wages in our area start at $8.00 and go up to about $11.00.

    In addition to the regular work schedules, Texas requires that all childcare workers receive a minimum of 24 hours annually in specific areas.  Usually those trainings occur in the evening or on weekends, so we end up having to pay them overtime as well as pay for the courses.  So that equates to at least 3 additional work days during the year, outside of the regular schedule.

    When NAEYC discusses "Power to the Profession" they never seem to address or want to discuss the issues that will be created if what they are proposing actually gets put into action.

    Thanks again.

    Tim Kaminski

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    Tim Kaminski
    Director/Owner
    Gingerbread Kids Academy
    Richmond TX
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  • 4.  RE: True Cost of High Quality ECE programs Estimated at $34,000 Annually Per Child

    Posted 01-27-2020 11:19 AM
    Hi, Tim, thanks for your emailing your response.  When in Texas, I had been Director of Education in an IBM training facility supported by IBM (equipment and educator training) and managed by a company based in the UK.  So our educational landscape was totally different from where I find myself now.  I think it is appalling that Texas makes private ECE school operators pay for the training that Texas itself requires. So I am in complete sympathy with you on that point.

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    Brad Butler
    Volunteer Teaching Assistant and Paraeducator student
    Meadows Elementary School
    Olympia, WA
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