Why Are Our Most Important Teachers Paid the Least?
A lot of people have a misconception about preschool education. It is usually seen as more or less the same as babysitting, and pre-school teachers are occasionally derided as glorified babysitters. This is quite wrong, and several studies are now indicating that pre-school education plays a huge role in the lives of kids.
Importance of Preschool Education
A quality preschool program can help bridge the gulf in language comprehension and numeracy between kids from poor households and those from more privileged families by the time they commence kindergarten. In addition to this, the benefits of pre-school can be even more far-reaching, extending to as far as influencing social issues such as increasing high school graduation rates and reducing the rates of teenage pregnancy and crime.
How Much Do Preschool Teachers Earn?
It may come as a surprise to know that preschool teachers, who are saddled with the important responsibility of nurturing young kids and laying the foundation for their social and intellectual growth, are being paid peanuts for their efforts.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual preschool teacher’s salary in the United States was about $34,470 in 2018. This is a far cry from the$53,370 average earned by kindergarten teachers and the$62,200 average annual salary of elementary school teachers.
Why Preschool Teachers Receive Low Pay
Below we will discuss why preschool teachers receive such low pay.
Lack of College Education
Many preschool teachers are not highly educated, with most of them having either an associate’s degree or a highs school diploma. Most of these teachers are usually highly-experienced and dedicated to their jobs, but employers use their educational credentials as a justification for paying them less.
Lackadaisical Toward Pre-school Education
Government and other relevant authorities have not been paying necessary attention to pre-school education. The education budget has been subjected to several cuts over the years. Funds have either been reduced or canceled, and this has affected pre-school education. For example, President Trump’s proposed budget for the fiscal year 2020 seeks to eliminate the Preschool Development Grant (PDG) program. This worrisome indifference which borders on outright negligence has ensured that pre-school teachers will remain at the bottom of the totem pole for years to come.
The above and many more reasons are responsible for keeping the earnings of pre-school teachers, who are arguably our most important teachers, low and unsustainable. We cannot ask for more from these teachers with the meager income they receive. It is necessary to increase their pay – and perhaps their training – to level the playing ground between them and their K-12 counterparts. This will greatly help to motivate them and keep them committed and focused on their task of raising well-rounded kids for the future.