Pre-K Pay Parity


  • Pay Scales and Parity

New Jersey

New Jersey’s first publicly funded pre-K program, the Abbott Preschool Program, was created as a result of a 1998 New Jersey Supreme Court ruling on school funding. Today, New Jersey’s pre-K programs serve children in public-school, Head Start, and community-based programs; more than half of all participating children are served in Head Start or community-based settings. Starting and ongoing 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. is required for community-based educators who have education and experience levels comparable to those serving in the public schools. Paid planning and professional development time parity is also required.


Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley & The National Institute for Early Education Research. (2017). Strategies in Pursuit of Pre-K Teacher Compensation Parity: Lessons from Seven States and Cities | New Jersey Pre-K.

Connections to Key Early Learning Study at Harvard (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.
Learn More about ELS@H Findings

Learn more about New Jersey

Context matters. Visit the New Jersey profile page to learn more about its demographics, political landscape, early education programs, early education workforce, and funding sources and streams.

Visit the New Jersey Profile Here
  • The state population is 9,261,699
  • The percentage of children under 6 with all available parents in the workforce is 69%
  • The rural percentage is 6.2%