What is this about?

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The Visible Teaching Project was started to respond to and address the undervaluation and undercompensation of early childhood educators. As early childhood educators, we take pride in the quality of our work with children, work which has the power to create a more successful, more equitable, and more beautiful society. We recognize that our work, much like that of young children, is largely invisible to the public. We suspect that this invisibility is a serious impediment to the growth of our field. We wonder what role we can take and what tools we have in increasing public knowledge and understanding of our craft and profession. Our end goal is to achieve the necessary funding and public awareness to make early childhood education a viable lifelong profession.

In our work with children and our co-workers we are often powered by questions and inquiry. It is this vein that we also begin our project. We ask:

How does systemic change in the compensation and social valuation of ECE teachers and administrators begin? What is stopping us from earning what we deserve? Does the public need a better understanding of what we do as educators? How can we increase that knowledge? What venues are available and effective for doing so?

Events are currently in the works to meet with teachers, administrators, parents and policy makers to explore these questions. Please join us.

2 thoughts on “What is this about?

    Susan Eisman said:
    October 15, 2013 at 4:42 am

    I am thrilled to be reminded there are others thinking about this important issue. Thanks for posting this statement and for inviting others to join the conversation. I am eager to hear others’ ideas and to share from my own experience.

    I’ve worked in early childhood education for about 24 years. I had the privilege of working with early childhood advocates in Seattle, Wa., during some of the most active years of the Worthy Wage Movement. The key slogan of that movement summed up the issue of full-day child care:
    “Parents can’t afford to pay.” (tuition rates of high quality care)
    “Teachers can’t afford to stay.” (in the field of early childhood because we struggle to support ourselves on such low wages).

    I also learned much about advocating for higher teacher wages, as I worked as Hilltop Children’s Center’s (Seattle) Executive Director, partnering with teachers to educate the parent board of directors about the issues surrounding the early childhood crisis. Since then, I moved to Portland and have had the good fortune to partner with many sympathetic parents at the Hawthorne Family Playschool. The teacher salary and benefits package has improved dramatically in my nine years at HFP. I’m also pleased to share that HFP instituted a sliding fee tuition scale 3 years ago in an effort to balance our desire to offer affordable preschool care, with our wish to generate greater funds to run our program. Essentially, we’ve raised the price of care for those families that can afford it, while continuing to offer less expensive care for those families that can’t. I meet monthly with a group of other co-op teachers in Portland. Some other co-ops are considering the possibility of instituting sliding fee tuition scales. I see sliding fee tuition scales as one concrete action we can take to educate families as to a truer cost of care.


    elliscarmen responded:
    October 23, 2013 at 5:17 am

    Susan, thanks for your comment. We are glad to hear you will be at the forum. I’m looking forward to hearing about your conversations and work with the Hilltop parent board of directors, as well as at HFP. A sliding scale is a creative solution! And creativity is absolutely essential as we enact change in our field.

    I am particularly curious as to how HFP parents and potential school families respond to the idea of the sliding scale, whether it requires selling it as a concept, and if so, what sells it? Also, how did the Hilltop parents’ views of education change over time, and what seemed to be turning points?


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