Hundreds of Children, Union Leaders, Early Childhood Education Teachers, Elected Officials and Advocates Rally for Equal Pay for Equal Work

Press Releases

April 11, 2018

For Immediate Release:  April 11, 2018

Contact:   Elysia Murphy, (212) 673-1800 x18

Despite Doing the Same Job for More Hours, Early Childhood Teachers at Community-Based Organizations Continue to Earn Less Than Teachers in DOE Schools

New York, NY:  Hundreds of children, union leaders, early education teachers, elected officials and child advocates gathered on the Steps of City Hall today to urge the de Blasio administration to create salary parity between early childhood education teachers in Department of Education (DOE) schools and community-based organizations (CBOs).  The teachers in the CBOs, with the same job and same credentials, and who often work for more hours each year, earn significantly less than their counterparts in schools.

Prekindergarten for all four years olds, and the expansion to three-year olds through 3K has been a critical accomplishment for the de Blasio administration.  Addressing income inequality in the City’s own pre-kindergarten system, a system often touted by the de Blasio administration as a step towards equality for children and families, is essential to provide support and economic mobility to early childhood teachers, and necessary for the stability of the system.

The administration understands that offering children quality early education plays an essential role in eliminating disparities and promoting mobility for enrolled children and their working parents. In fact, CBOs have been a critical partner in the success of the Mayor’s Pre-K for All and now 3K Initiatives, as they provide over half of all prekindergarten seats. But for this partnership with CBOs, New York City could not have achieved Pre-K for All and would not be able to undertake the roll out of the 3K initiative. In communities across the city, the teachers in CBOs are playing a critical role in promoting and supporting children’s social and emotional development and their acquisition of early literacy and numeracy skills essential to school readiness.

Teachers in CBOs work during the summer months and many school holidays, yet earn significantly less than their DOE peers.  And the salary disparities grow over time:  for example an MA certified teacher in a CBO earns $15,000 less (or 32%) in the first year of employment and the disparity grows to over $32,000 less than their DOE peers (or 66%) by 8 years of employment. This two- tier system compromises the CBOs ability to retain teachers, as well as undermines morale. The city has a duty to all teachers and students to eliminate this two-tier system by compensating CBO teachers equally with their DOE counterparts.

“District Council 1707 strongly believes that public center-based day care and Head Start employees have not received the professional recognition nor the wages they so rightfully deserve.  We do not want to believe that the severe discrepancy in wages is because the majority of these employees are women and women of color.  But we will continue to fight for these members until this inequality is resolved,” said Executive Director of DC 1707, Kim Medina. “New York City proudly promotes its advances in public center-based child care so now it must take a realistic assessment of how these women from predominately communities-in-need must care for their families.  It is the right thing to do.”

“Quality early childhood education provides our youngest children with a better chance at success throughout the rest of their lives. While we have made recent strides, CSA continues in its advocacy to have pay parity for our early childhood supervisors. Pay disparity is not only unfair, but disruptive to the educational mission,” said Mark Cannizzaro, President of CSA.

“We stand proudly with our DC 1707 sisters and brothers who provide our children with the vital care and valuable instruction they need to jump start their lives in the right direction. These hard working care takers who also make Head Start happen deserve to have wage parity and deserve it now! Their fight is our fight! We will continue to support them until the struggle is won,” said Henry Garrido, DC 37 Executive Director.

“We stand with our day care and other child care colleagues to denounce this absurd wage disparity and continued increase in income inequality for teachers who are equally qualified as their DOE counterparts and who have proven themselves for decades that they are dedicated to the academic enterprise.”  André Lake, President, Head Start Sponsoring Board of NYC.

“It is inexcusable that community-based child care workers are paid less than their DOE counterparts,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “Such a pay disparity among daycare workers creates a systemic inequality that leaves the City’s poorest preschoolers with the lowest paid teachers and keeps these educators from providing for their own families. Just as all children in New York City deserve access to the same education, every teacher deserves an equal and fair wage and I urge Mayor de Blasio to make this a reality.”

“It shouldn’t matter who is listed on an educator’s paystub — our children deserve the best, and their CBO educators deserve salary parity with their DOE peers,” said Council Member Stephen Levin, Chair of the General Welfare Committee. “If we do not act, we will continue to weaken the vital neighborhood institutions that are at the forefront of providing trusted and reliable services to the community. The expansion of educational services to more ages is a wonderful thing. Let’s make sure we do it right.”

“As we fight for salary parity across our society, that same sense of fairness must apply to New York City’s early childhood education teachers. Whether they work for the Department of Education or a community-based organization, early childhood teachers are performing the same vital function and are being paid with public dollars. This administration has made a tremendous effort to ensure that every young child has access to quality education precisely because it helps to eliminate social disparities later in life. In that same spirit, we can and should address teacher salary inequities now,” said Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Chair of the Women’s Issues Committee.

“Our city’s early childhood teachers are integral to ensuring that children of every background can start on a strong and equal footing in their educational development,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “Childhood teachers at community based organizations serve the needs of our city’s most vulnerable children and families, and need our support. I’m proud to join education advocates and teachers in the fight to close the pay gap for these everyday heroes, and ensure that all of our teachers earn the support and salary they need to thrive.”

“I never could have imagined that after I got my masters and teaching license and dedicated my life to being an early childhood educator that I would be in such serious debt.  I work hard to pay my rent, utilities and feed my children.  I want to be able to support my family, get out of debt and live a good life- for this I need salary parity,” said ASuba Maa, Teacher, Union Settlement.

“As an assistant teacher in a non-profit setting, I have received exactly the same training as an assistant teacher in the DOE, but do not receive the same pay. I am a mandated reporter, and am certified in medication administration (MAT) and CPR/First Aid. This is not at all fair. We must have salary parity,” said Marnie Montalvo, an Assistant teacher, Chinese American Planning Council.

“I have worked at East Harlem Block Nursery for almost 18 years, making my way up from an aide to the lead teacher. I have the same credentials that a teacher has in the DOE, with the same, or more experience and I don’t think it is fair that I work so hard and my salary has not really changed. My children went to this center. I know what it has done for them,” said Antoinette Pino, Teacher, East Harlem Block Nursery.

“A majority of the employees of CBOs are women and women of color. There are campaigns for equal pay across all professions between men and women; all we are asking for is equal pay for women in the same profession, with the same credentials and experience doing the same work. Equal pay for equal work!!” said Angalie Dasai, Center Director, Brooklyn Kindergarten Society.

“The Mayor’s decision to pay teachers and other employees in nonprofit early childhood education centers far less than their counterparts in the public schools is harming children and families in low-income communities throughout New York City, ” said David Nocenti, Executive Director of Union Settlement, the largest provider of early childhood services in East Harlem.  “Our staff members have the same credentials and experience as the teachers in the public schools, but work more hours and are paid substantially less.  There is no rational basis for this disparate treatment of our dedicated workers, who are struggling to make ends meet, even though they are serving some of the most vulnerable children in the City.”

“The cry of “Equal Pay for Equal Work” should resonate in the corridors of City Hall.  It’s time for the mayor to end the unfair practice of paying DOE teachers up to 80% more than their equally-qualified counterparts teaching in community based organizations throughout the city.  There is no just explanation for why these highly qualified teachers are penalized for working more days a year and longer hours educating children from low income families,” said James Matison, Executive Director of Brooklyn Kindergarten Society.

“We support the Mayor’s vision of equity and excellence in education, but does it include early childhood education as well?  Are community-based early childhood programs being viewed as an important part of this vision?  If so, recognition must be given to the educators whose work is the cornerstone of the city’s system”, said Andrea Anthony, Executive Director, Day Care Council of New York.

“New York City’s early childhood education system is currently bifurcated such that teachers earn significantly less in community-based organizations than in public schools, despite having the same credentials and doing the same job for more hours.  There is no question that CBOs are critical to the success of the Mayor’s PreK and 3K for All Initiatives, as they serve over 60% of enrolled children. A high quality early education reduces educational disparity, and promotes upward mobility for children and their working parents. To ensure the Mayor’s vision is truly transformative and impactful in ending income inequality and lifting greater numbers of New Yorkers out of poverty, salary parity must be brought to the early childhood education system,” said Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children.

“Teachers and early childcare providers working for nonprofit organizations play a pivotal role in ensuring universal pre-K for all New York City school children,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, CEO and Executive Director of FPWA. “These teachers deserve fair and equitable compensation for their valuable work, just as their Department of Education counterparts do. It’s high time the City address this de facto two-tier system, and correct the pay disparities that put these organizations and their workforce at a disadvantage.”

“In a City that has made a commitment to being the most fair city in America, it is unreasonable and wrong to deny a group of educators, most of whom are struggling to make ends meet, the chance to receive equal compensation with DOE employees,” said Susan Stamler, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses. “The City must act to ensure salary parity for early childhood educators and staff in community based organizations.”

Hear from educators about how these inequities impact staff and programs in a new PSA released by the Campaign for Children.

ABOUT CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN: The Campaign for Children is a coalition of 150 early childhood education and after-school advocacy and provider organizations, including Citizens’ Committee for Children, Children’s Aid, United Neighborhood Houses, Good Shepherd Services, FPWA, the Day Care Council of New York, UJA-Federation of New York, and the YMCA of Greater New York. The Campaign’s successful advocacy saved child care and after-school programs for more than 47,000 children by securing more than $120 million of one-year City Council discretionary funds for two consecutive years, which then were successfully baselined. The Campaign also advocated for the expansion of Universal Pre-K and middle school after-school programs in NYC, and saved summer programs for over 34,000 children.



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