Compensation: The Crux of the Early Care and Learning Crisis?


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During the past several months, Good2Know Network has posted about California state policymakers’ new emphasis on improvements and funding for early care and learning systems. Governor Newsom’s budget and numerous bills introduced by the state legislature  are all promising developments.

What about Wages?

Low wage levels in the early childcare profession are not being addressed in Sacramento, according to a recent opinion piece from Marcy Whitebrook and Lea J.E. Austin, co-directors of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at UC Berkeley. The authors recommend specific actions for Governor Newsom and the Legislature to take that go beyond the measures proposed in current legislative and budget discussions to more effectively address the urgent early childcare wage crisis.

The critical need for better compensation is also one of the key takeaways from the study and recommendations of the State Assembly Blue Ribbon Commission on Early Childhood Education. Click here for more information.  

Compensation in San Mateo County

What does compensation look like in San Mateo County?  Well, it is higher than the California average, but still very low, particularly when San Mateo County’s cost of living is factored into the equation. Even higher level child care staff in San Mateo County are, on average, earning, wages lower than the living wage for a family with one child. The study, a survey of San Mateo County center-based programs that was initiated by the Child Care Partnership Council, found the following average wages: $15.47 for teacher’s aides; $17.35 for assistant/associate teachers; and $22.07 for teachers. Click here to read the complete study.

How You Can Weigh In

Your assembly member and senator want and need to know what you think about early learning issues, including compensation. Most have a place on their website for you to share your opinion in a short email. It can be as simple as a two-sentence note, with the first sentence describing your work or your interest in early learning issues, and the second drawing your representative’s attention to topics of importance to you, whether it be wages, regional rates, child-to-adult ratios, grants for facility expansion, or anything else. To find your senator and assembly member, click here.

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