D.C.'s Controversial Day Care Regulations Move Forward

The policy requires many child daycare workers to obtain two-year associate degrees.

Stephanie Stamas, PT, DPT, ATC, PRPC
Stephanie Stamas, PT, DPT, ATC, PRPC
Mom of a 2yo and 4yo. Doctor of Physical Therapy. Pelvic Floor Expert.
Last updated
February 21, 2023

Daycare workers are responsible for our most precious treasure, our kids, and yet their compensation is low. Recent legislation in DC is requiring many child care workers to obtain two-year associate degrees by the end of 2023. The hope is to increase the quality of childcare and improve salaries. But will this regulation backfire on both parents and teachers?

With the current teacher shortage and rising childcare costs, some parents may find themselves priced out of daycare coverage.

Advocates for the legislation point to evidence that young children benefit from providers with college degrees, but that research is typically focused on Pre-K and above.

“It’s easy to see why you’d want, say, a high school physics teacher to have a college degree in physics. You need an in-depth understanding of physics to teach it well. But this kind of rationale gets less compelling at lower grade levels. Most adults—even those without a college degree—understand math and reading well enough to teach them to a kindergartener.”

Younger classrooms also have limitations on the teacher-student ratio, so raising teacher education standards will be more expensive at the lowest age levels. This disproportionally impacts lower-income families and single moms who typically need to return to work soon after birth.

The new education standards may also push out experienced healthcare workers that don't have the financial or time resources to return to school. The desire to support daycare workers is admirable, but there may be a better solution. Subsidizing the pay of child care workers would improve their lives without raising the costs to parents or pushing teachers out of a job.

Read more here (via Slate)

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