Preschool education is misunderstood by many people. Typically, it is considered somewhat similar to babysitting, and pre-school educators are sometimes mocked as glorified babysitters. This is quite erroneous as numerous studies have started showing that pre-school education plays a significant role in kids’ lives.
Importance of Preschool Education
There is a significant gap in numeracy and language comprehension between kids from privileged families and their counterparts from poor households. Pre-school education helps bridge this gap by the time these kids start kindergarten. But the benefits of pre-school don’t end here. They are much more extensive and go as far as having major impacts on social issues, such as bringing down the rates of teenage crime and pregnancy and boosting the rates of high school graduation.
What’s the Salary of Preschool Educators?
Pre-school educators have the crucial responsibility on their shoulders of nurturing young and impressionable minds and establishing the foundation for their intellectual and social growth. Yet, you may be surprised to know that these educators are paid peanuts that don’t match the time, energy, and efforts they devote to their jobs.
According to the BLS, a U.S.-based pre-school teacher’s average annual salary in 2018 was approximately $34,470. This is much lower than the average annual salary of $53,370 and $62,200 earned by kindergarten educators and elementary school educators, respectively.
Why Preschool Educators Are Paid Peanuts
Below are some of the key reasons pre-school educators receive a meager salary.
Not Having a College Degree
Several pre-school educators are not highly educated. Most of them either possess a high school diploma or an associate’s degree. Though a majority of these educators are typically extremely dedicated and experienced in their jobs, employers use their academic credentials (and the lack of a college degree) as an excuse to pay them a paltry amount.
Apathetic Attitude toward Preschool Education
Preschool education hasn’t received the attention it deserves from the government and other relevant authorities. Over the years, the education budget has undergone multiple cuts. Funds have either been canceled or decreased, which has impacted pre-school education adversely. For instance, President Trump’s proposed budget for the financial year 2020 wanted to abolish the Preschool Development Grant (PDG) program. Due to this worrying indifference, which is pretty close to absolute negligence, it has been made sure that pre-school educators continue to languish at the bottom of the hierarchy for years to come.
The above, along with several other reasons, are responsible for restricting pre-school educators’ earnings at a level that’s pretty low and unsustainable, despite them being possibly our most vital educators. Due to the measly salary these educators get, it is difficult to ask them to do more. It is essential to increase their salary – and perhaps their training as well – to build a level playing field between them and their K-12 counterparts. Doing this will significantly help to keep them motivated, focused, and committed to their job of raising well-rounded kids who will be responsible for shaping our society and nation in the future.