State Initiative

Rhode Island Cross-Sector Compensation Report Drives Legislative Action

Jun 2, 2022

Thanks to the work of the RIght from the Start campaign, composed of Rhode Island early childhood groups, leaders, and stakeholders convened as a part of the state’s Think Babies efforts funded by ZERO TO THREE, the 2022 Rhode Island legislature will consider a new compensation package for early childhood educators across sectors. The Rhode Island Early Educator Investment Act calls for the children’s cabinet to create and implement a plan to improve compensation of the early childhood workforce.

Thanks to the work of the RIght from the Start campaign, composed of Rhode Island early childhood groups, leaders, and stakeholders convened as a part of the state’s Think Babies efforts funded by ZERO TO THREE, the 2022 Rhode Island legislature will consider a new compensation package for early childhood educators across sectors. The Rhode Island Early Educator Investment Act calls for the children’s cabinet to create and implement a plan to improve compensation of the early childhood workforce.

The group’s recommendations stem from the 2019 report, Improving the Compensation and Retention of Effective Infant/Toddler Educators in Rhode Island. One of the primary suggestions is the creation and utilization of a cross-departmental target wage scale for all early educators, including child care educators, Part C early intervention specialists, home visitors, and Pre-K teachers. The wage scale would establish comparable wage targets for all educators based on “education levels above high school and demonstrated competence working with children and families.” The goal of the wage scale is that infant/toddler educators would receive compensation similar to public school teachers with the same level of education. The wage scale would adjust to be reflective of current kindergarten teacher salaries adjusted to a 12-month schedule. The task force recommends incorporating the infant/toddler educator wage scale into home visiting contracts, rate setting for child care and Part C early intervention programs, and to implement a wage supplement through a model like Child Care WAGE$.

Upon passage of the legislation, the children’s cabinet will further be tasked with designing and implementing a strategic plan to address the gap between current wages and target wages.

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