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Recommendations Made for a Wage and Compensation Model for Alaska

January 15, 2020

Every day, early childhood and school-age educators have the critical job of caring for Alaska’s young children, and helping prepare them for the future. Unfortunately, low wages and lack of benefits equates to high turnover for early childhood educators in today’s workforce which results in fragile care and supports for our youngest Alaskans.
 
Last summer, thread and the Alaska System for Early Education Development (SEED) partnered with the IDEALS Institute at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) to conduct the Alaska Early Childhood and School-Age Educators Wage and Compensation Survey with the goal to support and strengthen the workforce by identifying and developing a wage compensation model for Alaska.
 
The survey topics sought to understand Alaska’s early childhood education landscape related to impacts, barriers, and benefits of current wage and compensation practices in Alaska as well as early childhood and school-age educators’ attitudes towards wages and compensation.
 
Early childhood and school-age members of the Alaska SEED Registry received the survey, as well as early childhood education programs throughout the State of Alaska. Survey participants were also invited to participate in post-survey interviews or focus groups.
 
The survey results indicate that over half the participants stated their wage was insufficient for living expenses. Low wages and lack of benefits were cited as the primary reason early educators were planning on leaving their current jobs within five years. Additionally, the interview results verified the survey results that teachers are underpaid, have a lack of benefits and feel undervalued, which contribute to high turnover among the workforce.
 
Based on the survey results, focus groups, interviews, and feedback from a cross-sector of stakeholders, the JHU IDEALS Institute provided thread and Alaska SEED with recommendations for a wage and compensation model for Alaska, including:

  • Improve EC educators’ compensation and strengthen the competency of early childhood and school-age educators.
  • Integrate the work and goals of Alaska SEED Steering Committee’s Professional Development Plan, Learn & Grow (Alaska’s Quality Recognition & Improvement System) and the support of the State of Alaska in order to implement and improve the wages and benefits for Alaska’s early childhood and school-age educators.

The Alaska SEED Steering Committee is reviewing these recommendations now and looks forward to taking steps to strengthen the competencies and compensation of our early childhood and school age workforce.

thread and Alaska SEED are excited to share this comprehensive final report, Wage and Compensation Model for Alaska’s Early Care and Education with you.

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