Early Educators 'Grossly Underpaid' in Colorado, Report Says
Early educators, including center directors, make far less than other Colorado professionals with similar degrees, according to a report released April 19 by Qualistar Colorado and The Women's Foundation of Colorado.
"Early care and education leaders, administrators and teachers provide an invaluable service, but their compensation does not reflect their critical role in children's lives and in the community," according to the report compiled by Qualistar, an early-education advocacy group, with funding from the local Women's Foundation.
Most teachers earn between $20,800 and $31,200 per year, according to the survey results summarized in the report. That means salaries only meet the standards for a self-sufficient wage in one Colorado county. Average salaries are higher when school leaders are included, but still below the bar for self-sufficiency, the report notes.
The early-education workforce in Colorado is 97 percent female and 86 percent white. That makes early education as a field far whiter and more female than the rest of the state. About 40 percent of early educators hold a bachelor's degree, but more than half of them hold a degree in an unrelated field.
The report authors conclude that early educators need better wages, more subject-specific training and small business support to better run day care centers.
Charts: Courtesy Qualistar Colorado