Early Childhood Education

Worthy Wage Campaign

 

The Worthy Wage Campaign is a national grassroots effort, initiated in 1991 by the Center for the Child Care Workforce (CCW), to empower early childhood education practitioners to press for solutions to the poor compensation and low status characteristic of the profession. The campaign was instrumental in raising public awareness of the need to improve job conditions in early childhood education; and in promoting activism, policy initiatives, and legislative activity at the federal, state, and local levels.

The campaign combined leadership and empowerment training for teachers and providers in the early childhood education field with media outreach, public policy work, and community organizing. From its inception, the annual focal point was Worthy Wage Day, usually celebrated on May 1, a day of locally based outreach and activism on early childhood education workforce concerns. The campaign created a national network of organizations, practitioners, parents, and other advocates. The CCW provided resources and technical support, offered leadership training opportunities, and organized an annual Summer Institute.

Originally conceived as a five-year effort, the Worthy Wage Campaign was coordinated by CCW from 1991 to 1999, and has continued since that time on a more informal basis in a variety of U.S. communities, with Worthy Wage Day observances as well as year-round activism on early childhood education workforce issues.

Further Readings: Center for the Child Care Workforce, A Project of the American Federation of Teachers Educational Foundation. See http://www.ccw.org/abouKwage.html. Whitebook, Marcy (2002). Working for worthy wages: The child care compensation movement, 1970-2001. Berkeley: Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, University of California. Available online at http://www.iir.berkeley.edu/cscce/pdf/worthywages.pdf.

Dori Mornan and Marci Young