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ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

  • 1.  ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 26 days ago
    Hello All


    We reopened to serve our essential parents and now we are needed even more with schools delaying reopening completely. With remote learning parents who don't have the ability to help their children with Zoom lessons etc, need our services even more. Teachers have a right to remain home where feel safer. The issue I'm beginning to see is that those childcare teachers who are willing to put their lives on the line are not being financially compensated. I am very proud of my staff who come to work everyday to teach our little ones and I wish I could pay them more to show my appreciation for being there. How do we get more money for our staff? Because if people can stay home and get paid, what's the incentive to keep putting their lives in jeopardy?!


    Tahsiyn A. Ismaaeel

    ------------------------------
    Tahsiyn Ismaaeel
    Owner
    Darul-Amaanah Acdemy
    Wilmington DE
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 26 days ago
    Unfortunately that is the same question we have been asking for the last 6 months of this pandemic.  Their has been more concern shown for public school teachers and public students, than there has been for the teachers, children and other staff that attend and work in ECE programs.  There is a total ignorance and disregard by the general public and our legislative leaders at both the federal, state and local levels as to not only the importance of the work we are doing everyday, but the fact that the physical environments that we work in and the risks we are taking by staying open are no different than the public school setting.

    I have been very disappointed to see that the National Advocacy groups that are supposed to represent the interest of the ECE industry have not been able to have more influence with the National Leadership to get more things done to improve our situation, whether it was before the pandemic or now during a National Crisis.  Although there has been much talk lately about trying to get another "$50 Billion" in emergency aid to support the childcare industry, even if it gets approved, most if not all of those funds will end up going to subsidized childcare programs and not those childcare programs that do not participate in their States Childcare Subsidy program.  That's what happened in Texas and there still thousands of childcare centers in Texas that have not received any of the CARES ACT funds that were dedicated towards childcare.

    The only way things are going to change is if we are able to get people that have been in the trenches of the ECE industry to actually run for political office at the Federal, State and Local levels of our government.  The only way you can make change is from being on the inside, and it's time for us to quit waiting or expecting someone else to solve our problems.  I have for one will be running for office in our States next election cycle with a specific goal of overhauling how our State handles the subsidy programs that go to childcare programs in our state.

    I would encourage you to reach out to other childcare providers in your area to see who among your group would be in a position to do the same thing in your State.  Good luck with your reopening and hang in there.

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



  • 3.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 26 days ago
    Hello Tahsiyn
    My research in salary parity with preschool teachers found that teachers are willing to stay in the school if they receive Teacher Recognition.
    Developing strategies for teacher recognition is important. Being recognized for the hard work.

    ------------------------------
    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor
    thepreschooldoctor.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 26 days ago
    Thanks for your response.  However, as much as I show my appreciation publicly, let's face it, its not going to pay the bills of a single mother who is trying to raise her kids on a childcare income; and that's under normal circumstances.

    My point is regarding childcare teachers putting their lives on the line to serve our communities while others are being financially compensated in a country that is perfectly capable to say "thank you" and recognize them in a way that will take some of the stress off of them because they can pay their bills without food stamps and other government handouts. We should be able to truly recognize their service...financially and not with mind games.

    ------------------------------
    Tahsiyn Ismaaeel
    Owner
    Darul-Amaanah Acdemy
    Wilmington DE
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 26 days ago
    Hello, I agree with you, preschool is an underpaid occupation and turnover is at 75% teachers leave.
    That's not changed in the 40 yrs I have taught.
    But when the director takes time to make some decisions about recognizing their work it helps to let them know they matter and rewards aren't just a mind game. It's a valid way to address the situation.
    Thanks
    Melanie

    ------------------------------
    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor
    thepreschooldoctor.com
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 25 days ago
    Thank you for approaching this topic.  We have felt this way for awhile.  Everyone is so worried about the "real" teachers, yet no one says anything about those teachers working in childcare and early childhood field.  Myself and the owner have been working 12 plus hour shifts to accommodate COVID procedures and after hour tours.  According to everyone, we NEED to be open to service the essential workers in other fields.  People wonder why people question working in this field? There seems to be a complete lack of disrespect or understanding of what we deal with on a daily basis.  Thank you for the opportunity to vent a bit.  Everyone have a great weekend!

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



  • 7.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 25 days ago
    Thank you Cynthia! I have three daughters who started out in childcare. All three left the field for better paying jobs as RBTs. The industry loss great teachers when they left the field.

    I hope it gets better because children need happy teachers that impact them for life in a positive way, not depressed or grumpy teachers that dislike their jobs because they can't afford to pay their bills and have a better quality of life for their own children.

    I'm really not a complainer. I just noticed how our childcare teachers stepped up to fill a very serious void without being financially compensated as others choose to stay home.

    Looking forward to better days!!

    ------------------------------
    Tahsiyn Ismaaeel
    Owner
    Darul-Amaanah Acdemy
    Wilmington DE
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 20 days ago
    Preschool teachers are not part of the local teacher's unions throughout America.
    Other than Head Start teachers or other federally funded preschools those teachers are included in the local teacher's union that all the other teachers everywhere are a part of and protected by hence they get better wages than preschool teachers.
    That being said will preschool teachers ever be included with the local teacher's union?
    Without that recognition, it is a hard time to get any recognition and for teacher's rights to be heard.

    ------------------------------
    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor
    thepreschooldoctor.com
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 20 days ago
    Melanie,

    Unless the federal government decides that it is going to pay for 100% of the childcare for all children in a familie from infants all the way up to Pre-K and then move those programs into the public school system, you will never see the ECE teachers in the private sector become unionized or brought into the unions of those that work in the public school sector or head start.  The current childcare subsidy program in the US is a disaster.  The subsidies do not cover the full amount of what a provider charges and in most cases, the provider must agree to not collect the difference from the parent which means the provider has to write off the part that is not covered.  For my centers in Texas for every subsidized student I take in, I have to write off between $60.00 to $80.00 of tuition per week based on the age of the child.  Appropriate compensation of staff has nothing to do with whether or not a center will have "guaranteed" full capacity enrollment.  Pricing, programming, location and reputation is what parents base their decision on when deciding on an ECE program for their child, not how much the staff is being paid.  However in order to have good programming and a good reputation over time, you have to have staff that are well trained and enjoy working with young children regardless of what they are being paid.  If Covid 19 has taught us nothing else, its that ECE programs are not prepared for a financial crisis either short term or long term, and that when push comes to shove, childcare and ECE programs are one of the first things families cut from their budget when they become financially strapped.  Now more than ever, the focus should be on how ECE providers can be reimbursed for their actual true costs of providing quality care as well as increase compensation and benefits for their staff, versus the utopian ideas of what ECE should and can be, without being brutally honest about where the money is going to come from to pay for it.  Again Covid 19 has shown us that the current desperate state of the ECE industry is not an important enough issue for the Federal Government, State or Local governments to do something major to help it survive through the crisis and as parents go back to work they are being forced into looking for the cheapest option possible because quality programs are having to raise their rates (which were already considered to be "too high"), in order to afford to keep their programs open due to the mandated reductions in class size, reduction in enrollments over fear of the virus or lost jobs, and the increased cost of providing and clean and safe environment for their staff and students.  We should focus on securing long term funding for ECE programs and then look at how the industry can be reinvented.  Without funding, there is no moving forward.

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



  • 10.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 20 days ago
    Tim, very well stated.

    ------------------------------
    Tahsiyn Ismaaeel
    Owner
    Darul-Amaanah Acdemy
    Wilmington DE
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 25 days ago
    Tahsiyn:

    I'm completely with you.  The pandemic has thrown a light on many inequities, including the structure of early childhood education in this country.  Unfortunately, until there is a structural change, I don't have faith that this will change.  Many in this forum have noted some of the problems inherent in the system.  When all, or most, of the income of private nonprofit centers, or even for profit centers, comes from parent tuition, it sets up a system that automatically only works for those who can afford it.  Most teachers can't afford tuition for their own children without assistance.

    I feel lucky to work in a city that puts money into early childhood education in many ways, including a scholarship program for low income families, coaching for early childhood teachers and directors and my program, which provides early childhood mental health support services for centers.  Even with that, teacher salaries remain very low, especially at centers with no outside funding help, such as a university or company. We have a robust mixed delivery system--nonprofit centers, for profit centers, family childcare, and classrooms run by the city.  I think this is the best model and wish that the government would provide more funding for all of these services as they do in many other countries.  I truly believe that the root of the problem is that early childhood education services are mostly provided by women, allow women to have jobs outside of home, and this country has yet to really value that work.

    Thank you to all who are doing the work.

    ------------------------------
    Aren Stone
    she/her/hers
    Child Development Specialist
    The Early Years Project
    Cambridge, MA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 25 days ago
    Hello Aren,
    I agree with everything that you said 💯
    My doctoral research in preschool education revealed to me that the general public does not have a real understanding what is preschool.
    I recommend more public awareness about what is preschool.
    Thanks Melanie

    ------------------------------
    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor
    thepreschooldoctor.com
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 23 days ago
    I agree with Aren. Some of the big cities and some states understand the importance of early childhood education for children's development and parents' ability to go to work, but there are still many people and politicians who think they can turn back the clock and put all these mothers who are now working back in the house. Most families today cannot function without two salaries and many families are single-parent families where the single parent must work. Right now, there appears no will in this country to do anything about the inequities, although there is a struggle going on in the streets. As long as helping with early childhood education for our youngest children is seen as socialist and connected to higher taxes, we will have a hard time getting to where we need to be. We just need to look around the world to see what can be.

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



  • 14.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 22 days ago
    Hello Everyone!
    I totally agree with you Ms. Nora,
    We can not just turn on a switch and March off to work when there is a need for two incomes in a household to make a suitable living. What happens to those are are one member of a household trying desperately to make a decent salary. We are essentially needed but unfortunately not heard enough to extend benefits , decent wage in living and respected as Early Childhood Professionals. When paying salaries are $11 to $14.00 an hour wow unprecedented really! It cost me more to pay for my college education. I completely understand parents who need their young children educated but salaries such as I mentioned are unacceptable the growth and development of our children in this country. Early Childhood Educators need to be valued as such Professional.

    Sent from my iPhone




  • 15.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 22 days ago
    I have designed a new preschool.
    Not like any other preschool.
    It's hard to imagine what it would be like but when I graduate I will be able to get it done.
    The solution for low pay being a preschool teacher,
    The teachers will receive a percentage of the profits that the preschool makes every month.

    ------------------------------
    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor
    thepreschooldoctor.com
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 21 days ago
    Oohhh Melanie I love your plan.  That is a great way to invest in staff, children and families and provide a living wage to staff.  Your plan will empower staff as co-owners.  How awesome is that for early childhood programs!?  So excited for you!

    ------------------------------
    Annette Bridges
    Owner
    Ready Child Ready School Consulting
    Louisville KY
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hi Melanie

    I have been in the ECE industry for 12 years, but my family has been in the business for close to 40 years.  I came out of the Corporate world and one of the things I came to realize over the past 12 years is that the majority of non-corporate owned ECE programs do not have very good business models.  The owner and directors heart is in the right place, but the majority do not have business backgrounds which makes it difficult for them to create a profitable business.  Most ECE programs operate at a 10-15% profit margin or less and don't do a good job of having enough in their savings account to carry them through a rough time.  The Covid 19 has made this even more apparent as close to half of the childcare centers in the US have had to close and at least a 1/3 of those will not be able to reopen at all.  Providing high quality ECE programs and paying staff a livable wage and benefits costs an extreme amount of money to provide.  What ECE providers currently charge to provide that level of service is not nearly enough to cover that type of expense, therefore you continue to see low pay and low profit margins for the providers.  We are all looking for a formula that would put more money in the pockets of our employees.  I would be interested to hear more about your profit sharing idea and how that would work under the current financial restraints that centers currently operate under?  On the front end, how much would a center have to charge for tuition in order to be able to have enough profit to share with the employees?  What other operational changes would need to occur in order to make the concept viable?  After struggling with the Covid 19 crisis for the past 6 months, we are looking at all new ways of doing our business.

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



  • 18.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 21 days ago
    Hello Tim,

    The teachers will receive a percentage of the profits that the preschool makes every month. This incentive guarantees the enrollment at full capacity.  Every preschool had to give licensing a business plan.  Generally, that plan is estimated at full enrollment to demonstrate a profit.  Basically, giving teachers incentive to maintain a full capacity school and receives a yearly bonus at the holidays as the plumbers have.
    It is a balance of many issues to maintain a quality school at full enrollment to see a profit.  But this is just one piece of the puzzle.
     


    ------------------------------
    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor
    thepreschooldoctor.com
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 20 days ago
    Tim,

    My thoughts exactly.  We have a hard time getting parents to pay what we are already charging.  Plus the increase in expenses now due to COVID.  I don't see how that is feasible.


    Brandy Sroga-Coons
    Executive Director
    Creative Kids Academy, MN

    ------------------------------
    Brandy Sroga-Coons
    Creative Kids Academy
    Elk River MN
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 20 days ago
    It is a balance of many issues to maintain a quality school at full enrollment to see a profit.
    Dealing with pay shortage is just one piece of the puzzle.
    The physical design needs to be changed and more materials need to be bought.
    Teacher platform that is not stressful
    The list goes on, but none of these are hard to achieve and the correct combination creates a successful school.


    ------------------------------
    Melanie Smith
    The Preschool Doctor
    thepreschooldoctor.com
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 23 days ago

    Childcare workers are essential elements to our children and families that we serve. I am a Pre-K teacher at our school. And our staff are committed to coming to work daily. We always follow the CDC and State guidelines to ensure safety. I am so proud to work at a school that cares not only for our families and children but we have an amazing administrator (owner) that goes out of her way to make sure her staff is taken care of at all times. The value of essential workers reflects a leader, a leader who demonstrates humanity to her staff and families.

    Mary Jane Zavala-Padron-Pre-K
    The Goddard School



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    Mary Jane Zavala-Padron
    Helotes TX
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 19 days ago
    What an interesting conversation.  On the surface, I think it's easy to say that ECE workers are undervalued given the average pay rate and lack of insurance and retirement benefits that seem to predominate the field.  At the same time, there are ECE workers who are employed by those in higher income brackets who are making more than a living wage.   I don't think ECE workers are being singled out as a community and being underpaid.  We are simply being employed by  a workforce that is itself undervalued and underpaid.  How could a family in the  low to middle class economic strata possibly pay ECE workers an upper middle class wage?  Economically speaking, we are simply too top heavy.

    ------------------------------
    James Mitchell
    Teacher
    Silver Spring Nursery School
    Takoma Park MD
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 18 days ago
    We are undervalued because our society/government doesn't see that we need to be subsidized fully to be able to provide those wages that parents are unable to pay, but that we deserve. Not just paying us as individuals, but investing in high quality early childhood education because it is essential and invaluable.

    Also, I work for a Head Start, and we are not part of the public schools teacher's union. We are not unionized at all, and I really wish we were! I'm lucky to work for a company that pays very well, but many Head Start teachers make minimum wage. We're all in this together!

    ------------------------------
    Sara Nicholson
    Early Head Start Lead Teacher
    Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties
    Lincoln NE
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 18 days ago
    Agreed!

    ------------------------------
    Tahsiyn Ismaaeel
    Owner
    Darul-Amaanah Acdemy
    Wilmington DE
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 18 days ago
    It does depend on where you work. I have a Master's Degree in Early Ed, work for Denver Public Schools, and we are paid the same as K-12 teachers, which is still underpaid for my degree, but not anywhere close to as low as other ECE professionals.

    ------------------------------
    Jennifer Monson
    ECE Teacher
    Denver Public Schools
    Denver, Co
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: ChildCare is Essential Yet We Are Not Being Valued

    Posted 18 days ago
    In NJ, many community centers have a contract with the public schools and receive most of their students through the public school district. When there is that sort of contract, each class with students enrolled through the public schools is taught by a teacher whose salary is covered by the school district, which means those teachers are making higher salaries than you would find in a regular private community center. It also means that the preschool teachers all have at least a BA in Early Childhood Education and are certified by the State. But those teachers' benefits do not come from the public school district via the district's union contract. The community centers provide health insurance and retirement benefits. Keep in mind, the contracted community centers receive money to educate each student enrolled through the public school district.

    On the other hand, the assistant teachers have to be paid directly by the community center.

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