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Teachers in publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs across the nation are increasingly expected to earn educational qualifications and credentials similar to their peers teaching older children. Yet salaries and benefits remain consistently lower for pre-K teachers than for kindergarten and elementary school teachers. This report is to explore examples of strategies that states and cities have successfully taken forward along the path toward compensation parity for pre-K teachers; it examines a small set of states and cities with the goal of understanding the policy rationale and process for moving toward compensation parity in different contexts.
As New Jersey tentatively reopens K-12 schools after being closed for over five months, many of the state’s child care providers have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to serve the children of essential workers. Throughout this time, providers have been required to observe more restrictive group sizes and child/staff ratios, while also increasing time and resources spent on cleaning and sanitizing, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With unchanged tuition rates, these new standards push many child care providers from an already tight financial situation into one that cannot be sustained. This paper examines the impact of new and existing regulations on child care providers’ revenues and expenditures, and the subsidy rates required to financially sustain child care providers in New Jersey.
Head Start is a comprehensive child development program that provides education and support services to children and their families. Despite the fact that Head Start is a federally funded, national program, this report reveals that access to Head Start programs, funding per child, teacher education, quality of teaching, and duration of services all vary widely by state. Although in some states Head Start meets evidence-based quality standards and serves a high percentage of low-income children statewide, in other states Head Start reaches fewer of those in need, often with low-quality instruction, and insufficient hours. This report’s findings underscore the need for greater coordination between Head Start and state and local government agencies to build high-quality early learning programs with widespread reach and adequate funding.