May 23 2011

99 Problems

by Jay-Z

I got 99 problems but A PLACEMENT AIN’T ONE! I have a placement at a wonderful elementary school and I adore the school. I’m gonna share all the details when I actually know what grade level I’m teaching (not knowing what grade level I’m teaching is KILLING me, I want to unit plan so badly!).

Anyway – like I said I do have 99 problems and one of them is how little money preschool teachers make. During college I was a TA at preschool. I had zero pedagogical knowledge, zero certifications and zero qualifications (and no college degree). All that said – through my work study, I was making a dollar or two less an hour than the full time teachers. That’s a crying shame folks cause being a preschool teacher (when done correctly) is harder than just about anything. In 2008 the median annual preschool teacher salary was $23,870.


I know teachers in general don’t get paid enough for the work they do – but keeping a class of 15-20 3-4 year olds alive is hard enough. Try prepping them for kindergarten with the necessary social and academic skills – and think about how important early childhood education is in terms of long term success. The achievement gap is alive and well in pre-k classrooms – so the importance of taking it head on at the earliest moment is paramount. What I’m saying is with the obvious importance / difficulty of pre-k teaching why are pre-k teachers paid so poorly?

I mean it seems obvious to me that paying pre-k teachers appropriately and requiring demanding preparation for said teachers should obviously be one of the many pieces that’ll help us get to One Day. We need to change the incentive structure such that it becomes important and financially viable to teach pre-k. I mean there’s a clear need for the best in the brightest in education (not that there aren’t many already there, I’m just saying) – that call might just might need to be heard even more loudly in pre-k classrooms. The Center for Public Education agrees:

Experts emphasize the need for [pre-k] teachers with college degrees who can deliver educational programming and who are paid at sufficient levels that promote retention.


Low-income black children randomly selected to receive the comprehensive preschool program showed impressive long-term results regarding educational progress, delinquency, and earnings. Seventy-seven percent of these youngsters eventually graduated from high school, compared with 60 percent from the control group. In adulthood pre-k participants were also less likely to be arrested for violent crimes, more likely to be employed, and more likely to earn higher wages than those in the comparison group

Honestly I really can’t believe that I’m just realizing this foolishness, why isn’t there a major discussion around pre-k and closing the achievement gap when it’s arguably at its smallest?

Are there national standards for pre-k? How is student progress measured? Why aren’t there high standards for pre-k teachers? Why aren’t we doing better?

AND to my pre-k / soon to be pre-k teachers: mad, MAD love to y’all. Please believe I’ll be sending you supplies – hop on donors choose and let a sister know what you need. Also – y’all are the front line of the front line and I just want to give you a ridiculously large amount of respect, appreciation and LOVE!

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