The Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s (OSSE) recent release of the Pay Equity Fund funding formula for child development facilities – which describes how OSSE will fund child development facilities to increase the pay of early childhood educators in FY 2024 and beyond – includes an alarming deviation from the goals of the Birth-to-Three for All DC Act and the formula recommended by the Early Educator Equitable Compensation Task Force. Specifically, while the OSSE formula will fund programs to pay educators based on their role and credential, it completely omits public dollars to support programs to pay early educators for their experience, as the Birth-to-Three Act requires. Instead, OSSE will only pay programs just enough to meet educator salary minimums, excluding years of experience in the field as a factor. Educators will lose between $3,900 and $6,700, on average, annually, partially continuing the legacy the program was intended to cast away: underpaying early childhood educators relative to their peers and the value of their work.
Slashing compensation for educators’ experience is out of step with the law’s parity mandate. It will hurt the majority Black and brown women who do this work, costing them real money they are counting on. It also undermines the law’s goal of building the robust workforce we need to fully implement the legislation. Who would want to stay in a field that promises not to increase their pay, no matter what skills and experience they acquire? Further, how could a sector with a workforce shortage grow without incentives for longevity in the field?