Moving Beyond the Market

A Proposal for Education Linked State Subsidies for Child Care Workers' Wages

For a  PDF of the report, click here.

The average child care teacher’s wage in Washington state was $6.55 in 1992. It is simply absurd that workers who care for our children are paid wages which put them close to the poverty level. This paper sketches out a proposal for wage enhancements for child care workers to address this injustice.

The state would develop a wage ladder which takes into account experience and formal education, amandated benefits package, and standards for employment. All centers which want to participate in the wage subsidy program would have to adopt the wage ladder.

Centers would pay the base wages and all wage increases due to experience and gaining of a GED or high school degree. The state would pay for wage subsidies for formal early childhood education credits.

For example, the base wage for a person with no experience and lacking a high school degree would be $6.00. For each year of experience the worker would receive a $0.25 wage increase, paid for by the center. Upon completion of each block of 5 units of community college credit in an early childhood certification program, the worker would receive a $0.12/hour pay increase, paid for by the state.

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