Each state in the US has different compensation parity policies for their early childhood education programs. Currently, public preschool teachers often have similar qualifications to K-3 teachers but earn significantly lower salaries. Compensation parity policies ensure that equivalent work and qualifications are compensated with equivalent pay and benefits. Using data collected by the National Institute of Early Education Research (NIEER), I organized and analyzed policy data from all state-funded preschool programs in the U.S., with a focus on state compensation parity policies for lead preschool teachers. Ultimately, my purpose was to understand state-funded preschool compensation parity for lead teachers in order to identify areas of improvement for the workforce within early education programs. I initially hypothesized that Pre-K programs that required pay parity did not cost states more per child than Pre-K programs that did not require pay parity. Literature from NIEER and other early education research institutions has shown that quality early education programs are critical in a child’s formative years and suggests that a more satisfied workforce yields more positive outcomes for children. Parity policies in state-funded Pre-K programs are not highly correlated to spending per child or program quality. Moreover, parity policies improve workforce well-being and should still be incorporated into state-funded Pre-K. Results show that there are only six programs across four states that require full salary parity for lead preschool teachers and no states require benefit parity for lead preschool teachers in both public and private settings. No clear pattern has emerged between compensation parity policies and state preschool spending or program quality.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Zaynab Khan, Allison Friedman-Krauss