Early Educator Investment Collaborative Makes  Million in Grants to Address Unjust Compensation for Early Childhood Education Workforce

Grantees seek long-term, sustainable increases in salaries and benefits for early childhood education professionals

WASHINGTON, Nov. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today the Early Educator Investment Collaborative (The Collaborative) awarded $9M in grants to support public systems innovations in increasing wages and benefits for the early childhood education (ECE) workforce. Colorado Department of Early Childhood, the District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education, and Louisiana Policy Institute for Children will work with state and local partners to explore unique approaches to boost early educator compensation.

“With the end of the American Rescue Plan’s emergency childcare funding on September 30, it’s more important than ever to find innovative approaches to bring early educators the professional-level compensation they deserve and that reflects their critical knowledge and skills,” said Dr. Ola J. Friday, director of the Early Educator Investment Collaborative. “These grants support state and local government agencies working to implement durable, sustainable ways to raise early educator compensation, which we know leads directly to better learning outcomes for children.”

Inadequate compensation and benefits continue to plague the ECE workforce, with compensation for early educators remaining low and far behind other occupations with similar credentials. Compared with their K-8 colleagues, early educators face poverty rates an average of 7.7 times higher. This is especially troubling when the ECE workforce is made up disproportionately of women of color.

Low wages result in high staff turnover, increased program costs, and an unstable learning environment, and serve as a barrier for recruiting new teachers for our youngest students at a key time in their development.

These grants will support partnerships between fiscal agencies and program departments to catalyze transformative change in ECE workforce compensation. The grantees will focus on innovations in financial systems, including new dedicated revenue streams and revamped spending, enhanced data collection and modeling to inform policy, and greater collaboration between agencies in support of improving workforce compensation.

“Existing public sector systems tend to be under resourced and siloed – conditions which make it challenging to explore how to maximize available funding streams to increase compensation for early childhood educators,” said Lis Stevens, chair of the Early Educator Investment Collaborative and senior program officer at the Bezos Family Foundation. “Through these grants, we hope to encourage collaboration and innovations that other communities can learn from and follow.” 

The Collaborative selected organizations that demonstrated systemic, innovative, and equitable solutions for the ECE workforce and the families and communities they serve. The lead grantees partnering with state and local organizations (view all here) and their focus areas are as follows:

  • Colorado Department of Early Childhood:
    • Enhance the Colorado Early Childhood Teacher Salary Increase Pilot by gathering data on compensation parity for early childhood teachers.
    • Conduct a study to articulate the true cost of quality child care and design a financing mechanism to ensure that increased funding is passed through to ECE staff.
    • Submit a state budget request for a universal salary increase for all early childhood educators.
    • Establish new CDEC positions (such as a compensation analyst and budget analyst) and liaison positions across key state agencies.
  • DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education:
    • Implement, evaluate, and document the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund through outreach, data systems enhancement, and development of new supports and resources.
    • Expand health insurance for early educators through data enhancements, education, and outreach efforts.
    • Support continuing education for early childhood educators by reducing barriers to completion and analyzing funding and scholarship sources.
    • Explore new funding streams to ensure OSSE is making use of all possible sources.
  • Louisiana Policy Institute for Children:
    • Implement compensation demonstration projects in key local communities that can be scaled across the state.
    • Collect data on early childhood educators to track their progress and identify what works best to improve their pay.
    • Advance statewide policies to improve compensation.

Created in 2017, the Early Educator Investment Collaborative aims to accelerate progress in the early childhood education profession and ensure early educators have the supports they need to be well-prepared and appropriately compensated.

Contributing members of The Collaborative include the Ballmer Group, Bezos Family Foundation, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Foundation for Child Development, Heising-Simons Foundation, and Stranahan Foundation. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a partner funder to The Collaborative.

SOURCE Early Educator Investment Collaborative

Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/early-educator-investment-collaborative-makes-9-million-in-grants-to-address-unjust-compensation-for-early-childhood-education-workforce-301988571.html
Images courtesy of https://pixabay.com

Previous articleRight-wing extremist organisation Artgemeinschaft banned