On Friday, January 25, 2019, Early Care Educators of San Francisco (ECESF), formerly the San Francisco Child Care Providers’ Association (SFCCPA) held a luncheon, lecture, and panel discussion on the most important issues facing the Early Care and Education (ECE) community today.
Lea Austin, Co-director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) presented The Early Childhood Workforce Index – 2018, California report. It describes early childhood employment conditions and policies in every state and tracks progress since 2016 when the inaugural edition of the Index was published. Highlights of the report provided insight into the state’s progress including:
A 3% median wage increase since 2015 for Child Care Workers and Preschool Teachers.
25% of all California children are part of low-income families.
58% of Child Care Worker families’ participate in one or more public income support programs.
An issue that is important to both CSCCE’s report and the panel speakers is the need for ECE teachers to gain salary parity with Elementary school teachers. “We need to address the real-life needs of the people doing the work”, said Austin. She stressed in academic reports and surveys on education, early childhood education is rarely considered or included in the paper. “How can we bring a skilled and stable workforce to the most developing minds, if ECE is so often overlooked”?
Panel speakers included San Francisco Board of Supervisors President, Norman Yee, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, Supervisor Ahsha Safaí, Supervisor Shamann Walton, and Jenny Lam, Education Adviser to Mayor's Office and School Board Commissioner. Speakers responded to questions from ECE workers and administrators. President Yee concluded the event by saying, “We need to make ECE a priority and pay our teachers and workers a living wage that shows we value their skills, education, and investment in our kids’ future.”