In some places, early childhood teachers are paid less than fast-food workers, NPR says in a blog by Elissa Nadworny. Citing the Bureau of Labor Statistics, she says preschool teachers, on average, were making $28,570 in 2015, which is a little more than half of the $51,640 that kindergarten teachers were making. In six states (Arizona, Idaho, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin), she writes, preschool teachers earned less than $24,000 — a salary below the 2015 poverty threshold for a family of four.
“Right now if you graduate from college with a degree in early-childhood education,” says Marcy Whitebook, director of the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, “you have the lowest projected earnings of all college graduates.”
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Why would she teach preschool when she could make a heck of a lot more money teaching kindergarten? It’s a question I’ve heard over and over again reporting on education. In some places, we pay early childhood teachers less than fast-food workers, less than tree trimmers.