Worthy Wage Day is a national day of action held annually on May 1st since 1992. It is designed to raise public awareness of:
- The low wages earned by early childhood educators;
- The impact the educator retention crisis has on young children; and
- The chronic public underfunding for early childhood education.
In addition to raising awareness, Worthy Wage Day calls on lawmakers and communities to commit to finding solutions to the chronic lack of family sustaining wages in early childhood education.
Thank an early childhood educator today!
On Worthy Wage Day, the American Federation of Teachers calls attention to the importance of early childhood education and the dedication of its workforce. Every year, educators adopt a playful but poignant theme to highlight the need for worthy wages for early educators. In past years, educators delivered peanuts and play dough to members of the U.S. Congress, saying “We shouldn’t work for peanuts!” and “We can’t make it with ‘play-dough!’”
Research continues to tell us that the most important component of high quality child care and pre-K is the quality and consistency of the educator. As long as early childhood educators are paid poverty-level wages, the United States will never be able to ensure that our youngest children receive the highest-quality child care and pre-K.
This year, Worthy Wage Day is all the more important as a national movement to reform child care and pre-K gains momentum.
- Two ambitious proposals to overhaul child care were announced in February. Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA) reintroduced he Child Care for Working Families Act . This legislation is aimed at making child care more affordable and improving working conditions for early childhood education across the country. Sen. Elizabeth Warren outlined the Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act which would create a universal child care system with early childhood educators paid comparably to public-school teachers.
- Power to the Profession, a national collaboration of stakeholder organizations, including the AFT, is working to elevate the early childhood education profession by setting a unifying framework of professional guidelines for early childhood educators—from required competencies and qualifications to career pathways and compensation.
Join us as we celebrate early childhood educators and mobilize for change, because all young children deserve high quality early childhood education and their teachers deserve a worthy wage.
Check out our Worthy Wage Day blog series and lend your voice to the call for worthy wages.
Day Care for All, New York Times
National Worthy Wage Day is jointly coordinated by the Center for the Child Care Workforce and the American Federation of Teachers.