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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.
In January 2019, United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) held a six-day strike in response to challenges facing The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), resulting from LAUSD’s inability to raise local property taxes and the growing charter school sector that draws funding away from public education. The protest was largely successful, leading to a six percent pay raise for teachers, more nurses, counselors, and librarians in schools, commitments for more green space on campuses, an end to random searches of students, and more. This report examines how UTLA and Reclaim Our Schools Los Angeles (ROSLA) built and carried out the campaign that ultimately led to these changes; this case study can serve as a roadmap for other school districts, labor unions, and community organizations facing similar attacks on public education.
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.