Acknowledgments

The authors wish to acknowledge the generous support of the Joyce Foundation and the Heising-Simons Foundation.

Endnotes

1. As discussed later, the total cost depends largely on the number of children who would participate in such a system.

2. EPI analysis of Bureau of Economic Analysis, National Income and Product Accounts Tables [data tables], 2019.

3.  We define fair wages for ECE teachers as wages that are comparable to the wages earned by their K–8 counterparts; it is important to note, though, that these wages are still not as “fair” as we might hope for, given that K–12 teachers face significant pay penalties, as EPI research has shown. See, for example, Sylvia Allegretto and Lawrence Mishel, The Teacher Pay Penalty Has Hit a New High: Trends in the Teacher Wage and Compensation Gaps Through 2017, Economic Policy Institute, September 2018.

4. Marcy Whitebook, Deborah Phillips, and Carollee Howes, Worthy Work, STILL Unlivable Wages: The Early Childhood Workforce 25 Years After the National Child Care Staffing Study, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley, 2014; Marcy Whitebook, Caitlin McLean, Lea J.E. Austin, and Bethany Edwards, Early Childhood Workforce Index – 2018, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley, 2018.

5. Marcy Whitebook, Building a Skilled Teacher Workforce: Shared and Divergent Challenges in Early Care and Education and in Grades K–12, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley, September 2014.

6. Steven Ruggles et al., Integrated Public Use Microdata Series USA (IPUMS USA): Version 9.0 (Minneapolis, Minn.: IPUMS, 2019), https://doi.org/10.18128/D010.V9.0.

7. Costs vary by region of the state; statewide averages are provided here.

8. Economic Policy Institute, The Cost of Child Care, by State (calculator), last updated July 2019. “In-state college tuition” is tuition at a four-year public college or university.

9. Economic Policy Institute, Family Budget Calculator, last updated March 1, 2018; Department of Health and Human Services, Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Program; Proposed Rule, 80 Fed. Reg. 80466–80582 (December 24, 2015).

10. Child Care Aware of America, The U.S. and the High Cost of Child Care: A Review of Prices and Proposed Solutions for a Broken System, 2018, PDF downloadable from https://usa.childcareaware.org/advocacy-public-policy/resources/research/costofcare/.

11. Rebecca Ullrich, Stephanie Schmit, and Ruth Cosse, Inequitable Access to Child Care Subsidies, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), April 2019; Sarah Thomason, Lea J.E. Austin, Annette Bernhardt, Laura Dresser, Ken Jacobs, and Marcy Whitebook, At the Wage Floor: Covering Homecare and Early Care and Education Workers in the New Generation of Minimum Wage Laws, Center for Labor Research and Education (UC Berkeley), Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (UC Berkeley), and COWS (UW-Madison), May 2018.

12. Lea J.E. Austin, Marcy Whitebook, and Harriet Dichter, Financing Early Educator Teacher Quality: A Closer Look at Assumptions That Drive Variations in Estimating the Cost of Services, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley, 2019.

13. Our concurrent report, Who’s Paying Now? The Explicit and Implicit Costs of the Current Early Care and Education System (Elise Gould and Hunter Blair, Economic Policy Institute, January 2020), provides some context for the investment needed for an ECE overhaul by providing a rough count of the money already in the ECE system nationwide.

14. In our concurrent report, we estimate that parents forgo roughly $30–35 billion in income because the current high cost of ECE leads many parents to leave the paid labor force, or reduce their paid work hours, to care for their children. See Elise Gould and Hunter Blair, Who’s Paying Now? The Explicit and Implicit Costs of the Current Early Care and Education SystemEconomic Policy Institute, January 2020.

15. Marcy Whitebook, Elizabeth King, George Philipp, and Laura Sakai, Teachers’ Voices: Work Environment Conditions That Impact Teacher Practice and Program Quality, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley, 2016; Marcy Whitebook, Marisa Schlieber, Aline Hankey, Lea J.E. Austin, and George Philipp, Teachers’ Voices: Work Environment Conditions That Impact Teacher Practice and Program Quality — New York, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley, 2018.

16. Josh Bivens, Emma García, Elise Gould, Elaine Weiss, and Valerie Wilson, It’s Time for an Ambitious National Investment in America’s Children: Investments in Early Childhood Care and Education Would Have Enormous Benefits for Children, Families, Society, and the Economy, Economic Policy Institute, April 2016.

17. National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, Transforming the Financing of Early Care and Education (Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press, 2018), https://doi.org/10.17226/24984.

18. Marcy Whitebook, Caitlin McLean, Lea J.E. Austin, and Bethany Edwards, Early Childhood Workforce Index – 2018, Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California, Berkeley, 2018.

19. For a more complete methodology using California as the lead example, see Elise Gould, Marcy Whitebook, Zane Mokhiber, and Lea J.E. Austin, Breaking the Silence on Early Child Care and Education Costs: A Values-Based Budget for Children, Parents, and Teachers in California, Economic Policy Institute, July 23, 2019.

20. Steven Ruggles et al., Integrated Public Use Microdata Series USA (IPUMS USA): Version 9.0 (Minneapolis, Minn.: IPUMS, 2019), https://doi.org/10.18128/D010.V9.0.

21. Steven Ruggles et al., Integrated Public Use Microdata Series USA (IPUMS USA): Version 9.0 (Minneapolis, Minn.: IPUMS, 2019), https://doi.org/10.18128/D010.V9.0; Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), OECD Family Database: PF3.2 Enrollment in Childcare and Pre-School, OECD, Social Policy Division, Directorate of Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, 2018; National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), “Fast Facts: Homeschooling” (web page), 2017.

22. National Survey of Early Care and Education (NSECE) 2012 data; Ajay Chaudry et al., Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality (New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2017).

23. Data from Economic Policy Institute, Current Population Survey Extracts, version 0.6.0, 2019, analyzed using methods in Sylvia Allegretto and Lawrence Mishel, Teacher Wage and Compensation Penalty Methodology, Economic Policy Institute, April 2019. In general, we trust the methods and sampling used in the CPS-ORG; however, when the estimates vary greatly from other sources, notably the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES), we use information from both surveys to reach our estimate. Specifically, when the estimate for teacher pay using the CPS-ORG is more than 10% higher than the OES estimates for the same occupation, we deflate our teacher pay estimate down to 110% of the OES value.

24. Economic Policy Institute, “Wages by Education” [online interactive table], State of Working America Data Library, table last updated February 19, 2019.

25.  It is important to note that, while ECE teachers (both lead and assistant teachers) would receive higher pay under our model than they are currently receiving, we have based our estimates for ECE teacher pay on elementary and middle school teacher pay and, as EPI has shown in other research, public school teachers face a significant pay penalty. That penalty is 20% on average nationally; at the state level, the penalty runs as high as 36.4%. (See Sylvia Allegretto and Lawrence Mishel, The Teacher Pay Penalty Has Hit a New High: Trends in the Teacher Wage and Compensation Gaps Through 2017, Economic Policy Institute, September 2018.) Because assistant teacher salaries are based on a percentage of BA teacher pay, those salaries may also seem lower than what would be deemed fair in other circumstances. To the extent that the pay penalty narrows for public school teachers in the future as better contracts are negotiated, we would hope that ECE teacher pay would rise as well.

26. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates [online data set], last modified April 2, 2019.

27. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2018 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates [online data set], last modified April 2, 2019.

28. American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, and National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standards, Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs, 4th ed., 2019, PDF downloadable at https://nrckids.org/CFOC; LoopNet Market Trends (LoopNet), Property Asking Rent—Lease Trends, 2017; U.S. Census Bureau, “Table B25031: Median Gross Rent by Bedrooms,” data from the 2013–2017 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, accessed via American FactFinder, 2018.

29. Costs for both center- and home-based settings are adapted from Augenblick, Palaich and Associates, The Cost of Preparing Students for Kindergarten in Southwest Florida, prepared for Future Ready Collier Early Childhood Education Work Group, April 2017.


See related work on Early childhood | Income and wages | Children | Cost of Child Care

See more work by Elise Gould, Marcy Whitebook, Zane Mokhiber, and Lea J.E. Austin