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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 18, 2024

Statement of Andrea Thomas, President and CEO of United Planning Organization (UPO) on the

PROPOSED ELIMINATION OF THE CHILDCARE PAY EQUITY FUND

(UPO educator Dominique Ennis-Bottoms nurtures Ava at our Randle Highlands Early Childhood Education Center.)

WASHINGTON, DC — UPO stands in solidarity with 4,000 early childhood teachers who learned that Mayor Bowser’s proposed 2025 budget would eliminate the Pay Equity Fund. This fund was created just two years ago — because of sustained advocacy by workers and their allies — to boost the modest salaries of childcare workers and bring early educator pay in line with K-12 teacher pay.

The cut would be devastating. Nearly all of the affected teachers are women of color. The $10,000 loss of annual income will widen earnings inequalities and return these teachers to near-minimum wage, leaving them struggling to support their own families.

This is a broken promise to teachers who sought advanced education with the expectation of higher pay. Childcare providers will find it harder to attract and retain staff, creating even more challenges for parents who need childcare. Since access to childcare is essential to our economy, all of us will suffer from this action.

The budget is now in the hands of the DC Council. Over the next two months, UPO will work with the Under 3 DC coalition to urge the Council to save the Pay Equity Fund and give our early educators the pay and respect they have earned.

Background about United Planning Organization:

Everyone deserves to be economically secure and reach their full potential. UPO helps DC residents lift themselves out of poverty and become the change agents of their lives.

A nonprofit human services organization, UPO is the Community Action Agency that serves District residents with low incomes. We Unite People with Opportunities and address the causes and conditions of poverty: We fight for systemic changes by showing how policy affects opportunity, and amplify the power of DC residents to improve economic and racial equity.

A staff of 400 helps 50,000 people each year with programs including education, job training and placement, health, housing counseling, and strengthening families and communities, such as partnering with developers to create new affordable housing. UPO’s Office of Early Learning is Washington, DC’s largest Early Head Start provider and is collaborating with WeVision EarlyEd on a pilot for the “ideal” model of childcare.

UPO also operates the District’s first Financial Empowerment Center, where all DC residents can receive professional, one-on-one, free financial counseling virtually and in person.

 

PRESS CONTACT: Zohar Rom           zrom@upo.org  (202) 238-4664   Cell: (202) 812-4001

By |2024-04-18T18:20:34+00:00April 17, 2024|
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