land allowances for low-wage daycare teachers; lawyers denounce the salary scale | Education

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Child care teachers, some of whom are paid less than the federal poverty level, got the second of two allowances for their service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Losses for Louisiana daycare operators due to the coronavirus pandemic have more than tripled since May and now total $100 million, the l…

The latest allocation, which was made last month, went to more than 700 child care providers and totals $17.5 million.

Last year, the initial grant was $10.7 million and was awarded to more than 600 child care providers.

The number of teachers received varied from daycare to daycare, officials said.

The aid was provided by the state Department of Education to help meet a pay scale that critics say is shameful.

Child care workers are paid about $20,000 a year and 35% of the workforce leaves each year, according to the ministry.

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The $20,000 is below the federal poverty level for a family of three in 2020.

“Until we decide as a state to pay teachers at the same level as other employment opportunities, we will not move forward with quality early childhood care and education in Louisiana,” said Cynthia DiCarlo, professor of early childhood education at LSU and executive director of the LSU Early Childhood Education Laboratory.


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DiCarlo said child care teachers “are consistently paid less than their service-industry counterparts.”

Libbie Sonnier, executive director of the Louisiana Policy Institute for Children, said the pay issue risked lowering quality as programs struggled to recruit teachers.

“When skilled and experienced educators consistently leave the field, it’s inevitable that we’ll see direct impacts on quality,” Sonnier said.

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