Early childhood educator career and wage ladder: A small investment with big dividends

The Everett Herald notes how difficult it is for working parents to find high-quality, affordable child care.

Washington’s Early Childhood Educator Career and Wage Ladder (in use at around 72 child care centers in the state) benefits around 5000 children every year by improving the pay, training and overall quality of childcare programs – and it helps defray the costs of enhancing child care workers’ education.

The “Ladder” is incredibly cost-effective (at $250 per child per year, less than a dollar a day) and has proven benefits – a three-year evaluation by Washington State University found it creates important (and statistically significant) improvements in the quality and outcomes of child care.

Not surprisingly, it’s also very popular. The Department of Early Learning (DEL) get calls/emails every week from interested center directors. In fact, so many centers are interested in participating that DELS uses a random draw to select new centers to participate when slots become available.

An additional of $2 million allocated for the Ladder would allow about 90 new centers to participate (163 total), and help 6000 more kids (11,000 total) get high-quality care and education at a critical time in life – a small investment with big dividends for our kids and our communities.

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