Worthy Wage Day

Worthy Wage Day is observed next on Thursday, May 1st, 2025 (322 days from today).

How many days until Worthy Wage Day?


In addition to raising awareness, Worthy Wage Day calls on legislators and the community to commit to finding solutions to families' chronic pay shortages in early childhood education.

History of Worthy Wage Day

On the first Worthy Wage Day in 1992, the three of us joined teachers and other early childhood service providers in nationwide rallies and rallies, calling for greater public investment to improve wages and working conditions. Coordinated action on Worthy Wage Day over the next decade sheds light on the urgent need to address the staffing crisis that is affecting children, families, and educators.

When they were written in 1998, there were very few program standards other than licensing and accreditation, and few coaches and consultants (who are now regularly employed to help meet the new standards). ) and terms like “personalized career development planning” are not part of our planning professional jargon. However, despite the increased emphasis on quality improvement, educator evaluation, and the proliferation of new program standards for teachers and providers to meet over the past two decades, there is still Very little attention to the work environment and compensation standards needed to exist for early educators. So we're doing a bit of repackaging - the standards are still there, but with a bit of reorganization and consolidation - and we'll be reintroducing those standards soon. Overall, these standards are very similar to the standards that child care teachers helped us define many years ago… and they are significantly different from all the standards that have followed them!

The Model Performance Standards differ because teachers working in child care and centers created these standards and because meeting these standards means providing teachers with working conditions that can enrich the lives of themselves and the children in their care. Model working standards are important because, as evidenced by the past two decades, efforts to improve quality will continue to be thwarted until we fully accept the reality that needs Children's needs and adult needs are linked. Today's efforts to improve quality continue to miss the mark by failing to address the two together. From the very beginning of the Model Working Standards, we imagined that two sets of standards would lay side by side – one addressing the well-being of children and the other addressing the happiness of caring adults or maybe one will be absorbed into the other to create a holistic approach to improving the quality of child care.

As the Model Work Standard makes clear, an important component of a better work environment is the need for a decent salary. Despite the work many of us have done over the decades, childcare remains one of the lowest paying professions in the United States. The Decent Wage Campaign was initially met with opposition in the field, among policymakers and the public. But these stakeholders today are slowly appreciating the full division of paying such low wages for this important work – work carried out mainly by women, almost half of which are women f color. However, there is little consensus on the main rationale for compensation reform, what compensation reform should look like, and how to achieve it.

A new CSCCE report released today, From Unreliable Wages to Paying Only Early Educators, focuses on these debates. The authors argue that a combination of growing and more stable public funding for the entire early care and education system, clear requirements for minimum standards of compensation, and a collective voice have organization for early educators offers the most promising way to create better child care work.

The three of us started our careers as childcare teachers and although we are no longer in the classroom, our work continues to be driven by our passion for the subject with economic equity for the childcare workforce. We vividly recall the collective power of the nationwide Fair Pay Campaign in the 1990s that inspired these standards and drew attention to the extra pay for teachers who keep young. On this Fair Pay Day 2019 - a historic day dedicated to declaring openly and boldly that the job of caring for and educating young children is worthy work - we hope that the common voice of the generation Today's teachers and caregivers are respected, heard and used to make their aspirations of exemplary work standards and fair pay a reality.

How to celebrate Worthy Wage Day

On Worthy Wage Day, the American Federation of Teachers calls attention to the importance of early childhood education and workforce dedication. Every year, educators adopt a playful yet poignant theme to highlight the need for decent wages for early educators. Over the years, educators have delivered peanuts and play dough to members of the US Congress, saying, "We shouldn't work for peanuts!" and "We can't do it with 'playing powder!'"

Research continues to tell us that the most important component of high-quality and pre-K child care is the quality and consistency of the educator. As long as early childhood educators are paid poverty levels, the United States will never be able to ensure that our youngest children receive high-quality preschool and preschool care.

Worthy Wage Day is all the more important because of a national movement to reform child care and pre-K growth.


Worthy Wage Day has been observed annually on May 1st.


Monday, May 1st, 2023

Wednesday, May 1st, 2024

Thursday, May 1st, 2025

Friday, May 1st, 2026

Saturday, May 1st, 2027

Also on Thursday, May 1st, 2025

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