Salary Parity Is More Than Equal Pay for Equal Work
On March 30, 2019, the NY Post published the editorial "Big Problems for Universal PreK". The article focused on the important topic of pay disparity between community based early childhood providers and their NYC Department of Education (DOE) counterparts. The staff of community based centers follow the same curriculum and provide the same services, including wrap-around services so families are able to pick up their children after work instead of when the school day ends. However, community based organizations are still paid less than NYC DOE providers, sometimes as much as 60% less.
CPC's Director of Childhood Development Services, Mary Cheng, and many other community based providers and advocates applaud the NY Post for bringing attention to this topic, but there is another side of this issue that should be highlighted as well -- the City's investment in children in low-income communities.
Mary Cheng said to the NYPost Editorial Board:
"Thank you for taking the time to shed light on such an important topic. As an educator for over 15 years at such a Community Based Early Childhood Center I would like to bring to your attention a very critical point that many reporters have not shed light on yet.
When community based organizations come together to get the powerful message of salary parity across, it is not just about our own sustainability -- there is a bigger impact at stake. In addition to the article's point of the DOE and the City of NY being unfair to minority staff; many of the community based early childhood programs service a majority of low income and minority children and families. What is the City truly saying when they put less money into these community based organizations who are providing direct programming to these undeserved communities? Ultimately, they are sending a very clear message of the worth of these children's education. The money for salary parity is not just about giving the current dedicated staff their fair pay, it will allow the Community Based Early Childhood organizations to have a fighting chance to work with quality teachers for the neediest children they service."