Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Washington State Early Learning Childhood Education Career and Wage Ladder Pilot Project

Evaluation Report of Year 1: Summary Findings

Researchers at Washington State University conducted an independent evaluation of the first year of the Washington State Early Childhood Education Career and Wage Ladder Pilot Program.

The evaluation, which compared ladder centers with a control group, verified that the career and wage ladder works to improve the quality of early childhood education by reducing teacher turnover and encouraging child care teachers to receive the education and training they need to make a career in early childhood education:


  •  The employee retention rate for teachers hired at the beginning of the pilot project at ladder centers was 21% higher than at comparison centers.
  •  Educational attainment of child care teachers was significantly higher in the ladder centers than in the comparison group.
  •  Significantly more administrators in ladder centers, as compared to those in the control group, report that employee morale improved from the previous year
  • The average wage ($8.94) of teachers in ladder centers is significantly higher than that of those in the comparison centers ($8.41)
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