Press Release: NYC Early Childhood Educators Call for Equal Pay
For Immediate Release: Monday, November 30, 2015
More Than 100 Organizations Sign Letter Calling for Salary Parity for NYC Early Childhood Educators
Staff at CBOs Make Significantly Less than DOE Preschool Teachers; With No Raise Since 2006, Many Depend on Food Stamps and Medicaid
Programs Struggle to Attract and Retain Top Teachers to Provide High-Quality Education for NYC’s Low-Income Children
New York, NY – Program directors and advocates from 107 organizations have signed a letter calling for salary parity for New York City’s early childhood educators – who have not had a raise in nearly a decade, and who make significantly less than DOE preschool teachers in public schools.
Because low salaries leave them struggling to attract top-tier educators who can provide a high-quality education to the low-income children they serve, programs are urging the City to take immediate action in the best interest of NYC’s children and families. “We stand committed to providing quality programs to ensure that our children have the necessary foundation to become thriving adults. However, salary parity for the early childhood workforce stands in the way of our ability to deliver the services that are critical for New York City’s children and families whom we serve,” the letter reads.
Many educators at the community-based organizations that contract with the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) are struggling to get by as they perform the important duty of educating NYC’s youngest. “The inequalities in compensation often are the difference between living in poverty or not, and many staff in EarlyLearn programs depend on Food Stamps, Medicaid and other government programs to fill the gaps caused by inadequate wages,” the letter continues.
“What people don’t realize is that teachers, especially ones like me who teach 2-18 month-olds, are the foundation for children’s learning,” said Nadia Alexander, a 42 year-old head teacher in Brooklyn trying to support her son on a meager income. “We don’t have a general job description, since we do everything that needs to be done to ensure each child grows into their full potential. Our pay should reflect that importance.”
“It’s a struggle to survive off of what I take home every two weeks. I could get another job, but I love what I do. I love that I get help so many children and families,” said Loretta Spark, an assistant teacher in Harlem who has worked in childcare for more than 30 years, yet doesn’t take home nearly enough money to pay all of her bills.“We’re doing such important things with these children—shaping the way they learn and grow. We need salary parity among all childhood educators so that we can properly support ourselves, and continue to help each child thrive.”
“All children in New York City deserve access to a high-quality early education – and in order to provide that level of quality, programs must be able to attract, retain, and fairly compensate excellent teachers and staff. Addressing salary parity is crucial to strengthening our city’s early childhood education system,” said Gregory Brender, Co-Director of Policy & Advocacy at United Neighborhood Houses and a member of the Campaign for Children.
“Without salary parity, early childhood education has become a separate but unequal system, espousing quality, but in fact creating a two-tiered division between public schools and non-profits,” said Andrea Anthony, Executive Director at Day Care Council of New York and a member of the Campaign for Children.
The full letter can be read HERE.
ABOUT CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN: The Campaign for Children is a coalition of 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations, including Citizens’ Committee for Children, The Children’s Aid Society, United Neighborhood Houses NY, Good Shepherd Services, Neighborhood Family Services Coalition, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Children’s Defense Fund-NY, Day Care Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, and YMCA of Greater New York. The Campaign’s successful advocacy saved child care and after-school programs for more than 47,000 children by securing more than $120 million of one-year City Council discretionary funds for two consecutive years, which then were successfully baselined.