Policy Strategies & Innovations Link copied!
|Innovation Name||Innovation Type||Innovation Subtype||Features at a Glance||Strategy Summary|
Health care coverage with free or reduced monthly premiums
In 2022, the Washington DC City Council established the Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund, which seeks to create pay parity between community-based early educators and their counterparts in the DC Public Schools. Pay Equity Fund dollars that are not going to wage increases are being used to fund free or reduced health insurance premiums for early educators working in the District. If licensed child development facilities opt to participate in the HealthCare4ChildCare program, their employees will qualify for free health insurance premiums for themselves and their dependents, as long as they are DC residents. Employees who are not DC residents will be able to take advantage of reduced premiums.Learn more: D.C. Continues to Make Strides Towards Compensation Equity
|Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund||Workforce||Pay Increases Pay Scales and Parity||
$5,000 – $14,000, depending on role and hours worked
In 2022, the Washington DC City Council authorized the Office of the State Superintendent of Education to disburse funds that would create pay parity between community-based early educators and educators teaching in the DC Public Schools. In its first phase, the fund is disbursing quarterly payments to close the gap between an educator's current salary and a starting public-school salary. The amount depends on educators’ roles (lead vs. assistant teacher) and whether they work full or part time. Educators are eligible for payments in the following amounts:
In the initiative's second phase, which is expected to begin in late 2023, educators will be paid according to a salary scale or adjusted base amount for reimbursement to programs. Educators who serve children from low-income families will receive higher payments. Education levels will also be used to determine payment amounts.
This program is funded through a city tax on high-earning individuals.learn more: early childhood educator pay equity fund
Berman, E. (2023). D.C. Is Giving Preschool Teachers A Pay Bump. Here’s How It’s Making A Difference To Them. DCist.
Greenberg, E., Nelson, V., Doromal, J. B., Sandstrom, J., Bose, S., & Lauderback, E. (2023, June). Toward Pay Equity A Case Study of Washington, DC’s Wage Boost for Early Childhood Educators. Urban Institute.
|DC Cost Estimation Model||Cost Estimation for Determining Subsidy Rates||
DC uses a cost estimation model as part of its 2022-2024 Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) State Plan
Since 2015, to establish subsidy payment rates, Washington, DC, has been using an alternative methodology that was developed in collaboration with early childhood finance experts. The city’s flexible financial model incorporates a variety of assumptions and data inputs to calculate the estimated cost of delivering services at each level of the District's Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) in centers and home-based settings, and under a variety of operating scenarios.Learn More: modeling the cost of child care in the district of columbia 2021
Source: Child Care and Development Fund Plan for the District of Columbia (2021)
|DC Pre-Kindergarten||Expansion||More Than 60% of Children Served (3-Year-Olds) More Than 60% of Children Served (4-Year-Olds) Universal Pre-K Policy (3-Year-Olds) Universal Pre-K Policy (4-Year-Olds)||
Percentage of 4-year-olds enrolled (as of 2022): 83%
Washington, DC’s Universal Pre-K program began in the 1960s and significantly expanded after the 2008 Pre-K Enhancement and Expansion Amendment Act (Pre-K Act). In 2022, 83% of the District’s population of 4-year-olds were enrolled in Universal Pre-Kclassrooms. DC’s universal program is made accessible through a mixed-delivery model, which includes classrooms in the DC Public Schools, public charter schools, and in community-based child care organizations. Today, the District has the highest percentage of both 3- and 4-year-olds served by a state-run program in the entire United States. The program is overseen by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE).Learn More: DC Pre-Kindergarten
District of Columbia Public Schools. (2022). Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Enrollment, Promotions, and Retentions Frequently Asked Questions for Parents and Guardians
District of Columbia Public Schools. (n.d.). Early Learning
National Institute for Early Education Research. (2022). District of Columbia
|DC Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System||Infrastructure Systems||Data Systems||
P-20 Longitudinal Data System
The Washington, DC, Office of the State Superintendent of Education’s DC Statewide Longitudinal Education Data Systemincludes public and private early learning programs. The system functions as a warehouse of data that provides demographic, program, and individual data across agencies, spanning early childhood to the workforce. The individual data is deidentified with a unique identifier. The system provides public and private portals for data.
The system is funded by federal Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems grants.Learn More/source: DC Statewide Longitudinal Education Data (SLED)
Demographics Link copied!
671,803 Source U.S. Census, 2022
0.0% Source U.S. Census, 2020
100.0% Source U.S. Census, 2020
Number of children age 0-4
40,759 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Poverty levels – children 0-8 below 200% poverty
Not Available Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Median family income among households with children
$132,700.00 Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
4.7% Source U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 2022
Unemployment rate of parents
6% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children under age 6 with all available parents in the labor force
Not Available For most states, this figure is between 65 and 75% KIDS COUNT, 2021
Children living in households with a high housing cost burden
31% Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Child population by race and ethnicity Source KIDS COUNT, 2021
Race and Ethnicity
- American Indian and Alaska Native (0.49%)
- Asian (3%)
- Black or African American (52%)
- Hispanic or Latino (17%)
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (.49%)
- Two or More Races (4%)
- White, not Hispanic or Latino (24%)
Political Landscape Link copied!
Early Childhood Education Programs Link copied!
Percent of 3-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023
- 3-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (69%)
- 3-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (1%)
- Other/none (30%)
Percent of 4-Year-Old Children Enrolled in Public Early Childhood Education Programs Source: NIEER 2023
- 4-year-old children enrolled in state-funded public pre-K (83%)
- 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start (1%)
- Other/none (16%)
Workforce Link copied!
2017–2019 Median Hourly Wages Early Childhood Workforce Index. Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley. CSCCE 2018, 2020
- Child care workers
- Preschool teachers
Funding Source Link copied!
Federal and State Early Childhood Education Funding (in millions) Source First Five Years Fund, 2022
- Head Start and Early Head Start Funding ($36.8)
- CCDBG & Mandatory Funds ($17.1)
- CCDBG State Match ($1.0)
- CCDBG COVID Relief Allocations – CARES, CRRSE, ARPA (CCDF & Stabilization) ($87.3)
- State-Funded Pre-K ($248.5)
- MIECHV ($1.6)
- IDEA Part C ($3.6)
- IDEA Part B, Sec 619 ($0.4)
- TANF Early Learning and Care Expenditures ($37.4)