This Issue Update newsletter is part of a series that provides more information on each priority issue on the Alliance’s 2020 Legislative Agenda. The Legislative Agenda is crafted annually in partnership with early childhood organizations that are advancing legislative policy solutions related to health, safety, food security, economic security, and early care and education. The 12 priority issues were selected by the Alliance’s 21 member Steering Committee.
Early Childhood Education: Strengthening the Workforce
The Alliance supports its members’ advocacy to expand scholarship opportunities for current early childhood educators, including to obtain bachelor’s degrees; establish a student loan repayment support program for new early childhood educators; and create a wage supplement program for the field in order to recruit, retain, and support those who care for and educate our youngest children.
Continue reading for more information on this priority issue, including data and talking points, connections to the lead organizations and other partners, and advocacy tools.
Data and Talking Points
- More than 71% of Vermont children under age 6 have all of their parents in the labor force, meaning they are likely to need some form of child care.
- The median annual wage for a child care worker in Vermont is more than $30,000 less than a kindergarten teacher.
Supporting Vermont’s Early Childhood Educators
Vermont continues to face a serious shortage of qualified early childhood educators at all levels: teachers, associate teachers, and assistant teachers. The state does not have enough qualified early childhood educators currently to fill open positions, which constrains capacity and contributes to Vermont’s severe child care shortage. Many talented and qualified early childhood educators are not entering the field in part because of low pay and minimal to no benefits. In order to reverse this trend, the Alliance and lead organizations are advocating for three policies to support early childhood educators.
- Expand Vermont’s scholarship program for early childhood educators. With increased state support, the program would have the ability to expand to provide support to individuals currently working in early childhood education programs pursuing a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, in addition to those seeking an associate’s degree, teacher licensure or endorsement, or participating in the state’s child care apprenticeship program.
- Create an early childhood educator student loan repayment support program for early educators who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or early special education within the past three years (2018-20). The program would provide up to $3,000 a year for Vermont early childhood educators earning less than $40,000 annually to help them make regular payments on their student loans.
- Create a wage supplement program for Vermont’s early childhood educators working in regulated child care programs. The program would provide supplements based on an early childhood educator’s Northern Lights credential level.
- Let’s Grow Kids
- Vermont Association for the Education of Young Children
- Vermont Child Care Providers Association
- Vermont Child Care Industry and Careers Council
Resources and Advocacy Tools
- 2020 Stalled at the Start Report
- 2020 Early Childhood Education Workforce Report
- Let’s Grow Kids 2020 Legislative Agenda
- Alliance issue page on Early Childhood Education: Strengthening the Workforce
- Sign Let’s Grow Kids’ petition to indicate your support of prioritizing children and increasing public investments in high-quality, affordable child care to ensure every Vermont child has a strong start.
- Join the Rally For Kids at Early Childhood Day at the Legislature
Schedule an Advocacy Training
Schedule an Alliance training for a group of early childhood professionals, providers, parents, or employers interested in strengthening their advocacy skills or learning more about the issues on the Alliance’s Legislative Agenda. Be informed and ensure your voice is heard on issues impacting Vermont’s young children and families.