The Teachers Who Educate Our Youngest Kids Are Struggling To Make Ends Meet

Preschool teachers don’t make much money. Does this surprise you? Probably not. How little is too little, and what does it say about our emphasis on early childhood ?

Eighty-five percent of voters said they think it’s “very important” or “extremely important” that early childhood educators are well-compensated. Over 90 percent of surveyed voters also said that they “play a critical role in helping children grow and develop.” 

“I love working with children and their families. It is so rewarding to go to work every day and help set the stage for a child’s future success and well-being,” Eleanor Johnson, lead at Rosemount Center in Washington, D.C., said in a press release for the survey. “While there is a lot of passion in the field, there is also a lot of anxiety around the low pay and benefits and what it means for our future.”

Instructing very young children isn’t as lucrative as teaching preteens or teenagers. A preschool teacher earned a median of $27,570 in 2013. The profession’s top salaries were more than $49,660 a year, while the lowest salaries were $18,420 or less. Child day care services tend to employ the most preschool teachers, while elementary and secondary schools tend to pay them the best. New York City leads the pack of top-paying metropolitan areas.

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