The most important elements of high-quality early childhood education are the compensation, consistency, and education and training of child care teachers.
The Washington State Early Childhood Education Career and Wage Ladder is a successful public-private partnership between the state and child care centers. It gives child care teachers small wage increases for getting more education, increasing responsibility, and staying in the field. The Ladder is proven to improve the quality of care by encouraging additional teacher training, reducing teacher turnover, and increasing teacher morale.
An independent, multi-year study of Washington’s Early Childhood Education Career and Wage Ladder by Washington State University found that in comparison to other child care centers:
- Wage Ladder centers provide higher-quality early learning and care.
- Significantly more Wage Ladder teachers pursue additional education and specialized coursework.
- All levels of staff in Wage Ladder centers earn higher salaries.
- Wage Ladder centers have higher retention rates among newly-hired staff.
- Administrators at Wage Ladder centers report higher morale and increased commitment and professionalism among teachers.
The Wage Ladder is the only early learning program in Washington found to create statistically significant improvements in the quality of care – it’s also essential to keep great teachers on the job. At a cost of about $250 per child per year, it represents a frugal, robust, and evidenced-based intervention that has catalyzed high-quality child care in Washington.
Washington State Wage Ladder Matrix
King County Wage Ladder Matrix
Career and Wage Ladder Evaluations
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