In 2015, Alabama enacted a salary parity policy to ensure that First Class Pre-K teachers in all types of settings were paid the same as educators in comparable roles in public K-12 schools. This policy was introduced in part to address high levels of turnover among community-based early educators. This pay parityPay parity: Provides community-based early educators with wages (and sometimes benefits) comparable to those received by public-school educators with similar education and experience levels. policy applies to both lead and auxiliary (assistant) teachers in all settings. Alabama’s First Class pre-K program provides pre-K services for 4-year-old children in many types of settings, including public schools, community-based centers, Head Start programs, faith-based programs, and military programs. In addition to salary parity, this policy also provides First Class Pre-K teachers with one hour of daily planning time and seven paid planning days per year, which is equivalent to the planning time that similarly educated K-12 educators receive.
Gebhart, T., Carlson, J., Harris, P., & Epstein, D. (2020). Workforce Perceptions and Experiences with the Alabama Early Care and Education Salary Parity Policy, Child Trends.
Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. (2017). Alabama First Class Pre-K.
Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) Findings:
Learn More about ELS@H Findings
The early education workforce is the foundation upon which all daily work and any expansion and quality improvement efforts rest. Research suggests that states and cities should invest in the workforce across all early education setting types, focusing on enhancing educators’ professional learning, compensation, and workplace conditions.
Findings from the Early Learning Study at Harvard (ELS@H) show:
- Early educators play a critical role in supporting the well-being of young children and families across setting types.
- Yet their pay, benefits, and other professional supports are often inadequate in light of the job demands and their cost of living.