Early Learning and Care under the Biden Presidency: Teachers and Providers

Girl with teacher in classroom.

What Teachers and Providers Need to Know

As president, Joe Biden plans to provide educators the support and respect they deserve and invest in all children from birth, so that regardless of their zip code, parents’ income, race, or disability, they are prepared to succeed in tomorrow’s economy.  Here are a few ways early learning and care will be supported under the Biden presidency:

Teacher Pay and Compensation under the Biden Presidency

Educators across the country currently experience stagnant wages, slashed benefits, and growing class sizes. In fact, in 2018, teachers made 21.4% less than workers with similar education and experience. Teachers’ average weekly wage has not increased since 1996. Some educators supplement their income with additional jobs, and most educators spend their own money to supplement students’ learning. Often, educators take on additional roles beyond the classroom, such as counselors, mentors for other teachers, social workers, and community liaisons.

Here’s what teachers need to know about plans for early learning and care under the Biden presidency: 

  • Increase pay by setting standards for the funding and ensuring early childhood educators in child care settings receive similar pay and benefits to elementary school teachers if they have similar qualifications and experience
  • Raise the federal minimum wage for all workers to $15 an hour
  • Triple Title I funds to support teacher pay, and allow schools to prioritize needs for their specific communities
  • Provide affordable health care or Biden’s new public option, federally-provided paid family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks, up to 7 days of paid sick leave, and affordable child care for their own children
  • Afford stronger legal protections and the choice to join a union and collectively bargain (Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act)

Reducing Teacher Turnover under the Biden Presidency

Past studies have reported the average annual turnover rate for early childhood educators is 30% or more. Consistency in the teaching force leads to better outcomes for children, so teachers must be supported from the first day of employment.  High quality educators are the key to high quality programs for children (NAEYC). Training, mentoring, and support become imperative in supporting teachers of young children.

Biden’s plan proposes the following measures to support early learning and care professionals so they can stay in the profession and serve children with high quality learning and care:

  • Provide funding for states to hire coaches for early childhood educators to continuously help them deliver high-quality learning experiences
  • Help teachers pay off their student loans. Biden will see to it that the existing Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is fixed, simplified, and helps teachers
  • Invest in strategies to retain and grow the pool of diverse, talented early childhood educators and give them the time, resources, and support (coaches, training, and education opportunities for certification, and financial stability) they need to provide children an excellent education
  • Create opportunities for workers to further upskill, while building a pipeline of diverse early educators, through the Biden plan for Education Beyond Highschool

Support for Providers of Early Learning and Care under the Biden Presidency

Here’s what providers need to know about plans for early learning and care under the Biden presidency:

  • Provide incentives for providers to fill critical child care shortages, including in the early mornings, evenings, and weekends, and in rural communities that have few providers
  • Offer bonus payments to providers who operate during nontraditional hours and create a Child Care Growth and Innovation fund that will provide grants to programs filling essential needs, including expanding access to high-quality care for families with high barriers to care
  • Partner with states to ensure providers meet rigorous quality standards, including developmentally appropriate curriculum, small class sizes, and support positive interactions that promote children’s socio-emotional development
  • Increase support for community schools, which often provide before, after-school, and summer learning opportunities, and increase funding for after-school programs, community centers, and extracurriculars to keep children safe, learning, and having fun when school is not in session
  • Expand the 21st Century Community Learning Centers that provide critical enrichment opportunities for school-aged children
  • Increase support for children with disabilities by fully funding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
    • Make direct investments in building new child-care facilities and upgrading existing facilities that are not accessible for people with disabilities or safe or developmentally appropriate for young children
    • Facility investments will require high quality standards, including ensuring they are healthy, energy efficient, climate resilient, developmentally appropriate places to learn and accessible for children with disabilities, and high labor standards for the people who build the facilities
  • Provide funding “reflective of the true cost of quality care”
  • As part of the public schools plan, Biden would double the number of psychologists, counselors, nurses, social workers, and other health professionals

Here are three ways you can help make education a top priority:

  1. Download the Education 2020 Policy Briefing Book to prepare for conversations with your legislators.
  2. Find and contact the 2020 elected officials (both local and state) to develop comprehensive education policies and budgets for our nation’s future.
  3. Share your stories related to education priorities on social media using #ED2020 and #prek.club
For information about how families of young children will be affected by the Biden presidency, click here.

Ready to join the club? Start your free PreK.Club membership.

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