Education, Features, Law and Politics, New York, topslot

Advocates For Pre-K Teachers Urge: No RFPs Without Pay Parity!

May 7, 2019

By Joe Maniscalco

DC1707 members march for pay parity last summer. .

New York, NY – As pay equity talks between the Mayor’s Office and the union representing underpaid Early Childhood Education teachers continue this week— a large group of Community Based Organizations staffing those shortchanged educators is calling on Hizzoner to pump the brakes on plans to restructure the entire birth-to-five system until pay parity is addressed. 

About 70 Community Based Organizations [CBOs] staffed by pre-K teachers earning as much as 60-percent less than their DOE counterparts, have signed onto a letter urging Mayor de Blasio to withdraw Request For Proposals [RFPs] until they support equal pay. 

Jennifer March, executive director of the Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, told LaborPress on Tuesday, that if allowed to proceed, the RFPs now being floated would hold salaries flat for another five to seven years. 

The existing compensation gap between CBO pre-K teachers and their DOE counterparts is between $15,000 to $30,000 — despite both groups of workers holding comparable degrees and certifications. 

“I think the critical issue right now is loud and robust advocacy,” March said. 

The projected first-year cost of achieving pay parity for long-suffering CBO-based teachers citywide, is between $83-to $89 million.

Mayor de Blasio’s preliminary budget for Fiscal Year 2020, however, has climbed to $92.2 billion. 

In April, Council Member Helen Rosenthal wondered, “Who’s benefitting from that increase?

The City Council has already made pay parity one of its top priorities, requesting that the needed funds be allocated. 

“I think there’s enough money to make real progress on the issue,” March said. 

In the April 25, letter sent to Hizzoner, the affected CBOs said they are “outraged that the RFPs advanced by the Department of Education (DOE) starve the early education system of sorely needed investments even as teachers threaten to strike and providers consider closing classrooms or entire programs to remain financially viable.”

In addition to pay parity, advocates for CBO-based pre-K teachers are urging Mayor de Blasio to withdraw current RFPs until they, allow programs to enroll children in high-need areas without penalty; provide adequate funding for both traditional “school day” programs and programs that offer extended day, holiday and summer hours; provide funding for administrative costs; and account for the constant increase of program costs year-after-year.

Beyond perpetuating the compensation gap between CBO educators and their DOE counterparts — the letter also charges current RFPs “penalize providers with Pay for Enrollment; fail to efficiently structure programs; provide no funding for indirect costs; and lack cost escalators.”

DC1707 — the union representing thousands of CBO-based pre-K teachers — has been highly critical of the de Blasio’s administration’s position on achieving pay parity. Last week, they agreed to call off a planned strike only after the administration agreed to the current round of negotiations. 

The enduring pay gap built into the city’s Early Childhood Education system chiefly hurts women of color, and has been characterized as “misogynist” and “racist.” 

May 7, 2019

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