January 5, 2016 \ Rachel Jellinek
Valuing Early Childhood Education and Educators

PutMAKidsFirst

Through a video project with UMass Boston, I have come to learn a lot more about early childhood education and educators…much more than what I knew when I was researching places to take care of my son when he was 15 months old.

What I have come to learn and understand is very disturbing to me, and I am guessing that it could also be shocking to many of you.

  • Did you know that 37% of Massachusetts early education and care workers receive public assistance?
  • Did you know that the median salary of a center-based educator in Massachusetts is $22,500 – $25,000?

When I think back now to when my son was in preschool, I realize with absolute shock that our dog walker earned more per hour than what some early educators earn taking care of a room full of little children.

When all of this information is coupled with the fact that 90% of brain development occurs between birth and age 5 (Source: Zero to Three), it makes me ask why are the people who are doing so much to take care of our young children in the early years, who come to work everyday to create a fun, stimulating and supportive learning environment, so undervalued?  Why are the people we entrust to take care of our kids so that we can go off to do our work so unappreciated and left in such an insecure and precarious financial state for them to be able to take care of themselves, let alone their own children?

To me, this status quo is unacceptable.  There are many early educators in the field who are trying to advocate for their cause, but I personally think that the governor and legislators need to hear from parents and others who care about this problem.  I am still in the early stages of learning about this issue.  Reflection Films just joined the Put MA Kids First Coalition.  If you too are concerned, I encourage you to go to the coalition’s website to learn more and get involved, Put Massachusetts Kids First.


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