Thanks so much to DEY’s National Advisory Board Member, Sherry Cleary, for her recent letter to the editor of the New York Times. A version of this letter appeared in print on August 2, 2016, on page A22 of the New York edition with the headline: Accessible Child Care. We reprint it here with the author’s permission.
To the Editor:
“The Wages of Child Care” (Business Day, July 13) illuminates the problem: low wages driven by the fact that the burden to pay these wages rests on young families, early in their earning capacity, and grossly inadequate public subsidy rates.
The United States needs to make a social policy change by allocating public resources to support infrastructure to ensure high-quality child care, with well-trained and well-educated teachers earning adequate compensation (both wages and benefits).
Other countries demonstrate their commitment to young families by generously subsidizing the cost of child care, enabling them to be more productive in the workplace while making sure that their children have opportunities to thrive and start school without the prevailing achievement gap, because they’ve had highly effective early childhood educators who earn professional wages.
Recent polls in the United States indicate that high-quality early childhood education for children from birth to 5 is a bipartisan priority among voters. It is time to pass legislation that includes funding that will significantly elevate compensation of those entrusted with this important responsibility.
SHERRY M. CLEARY
The writer is executive director of the New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at CUNY and a co-chairwoman of the Governor’s Early Childhood Advisory Council.