Jobs in the Balance: The Early Employment Impacts of Washington, DC’s Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund
- The study estimates a statistically significant, positive impact of Washington, DC’s Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund (PEF) initial payments on the number of child care and early education (CCEE) educators employed in Washington, DC.
- By the fourth quarter of 2022—just two quarters after the launch of the PEF—the initial payments increased CCEE employment levels in Washington, DC by approximately 100 additional educators, or about 3 percent. This was the largest positive impact among all counties included in the analysis over this period.
- The PEF’s immediate impacts on CCEE employment levels are promising and appear to represent a useful strategy for increasing workforce retention and stability, though the longer-term effects of the PEF are still uncertain.
Despite the contributions of their work to the learning and development of young children, child care and early education (CCEE) educators are among the lowest paid workers in the United States and have high rates of turnover in their jobs. In a pioneering effort, Washington, DC has launched the nation’s first large-scale, publicly funded program to supplement CCEE educator wages. The Early Childhood Educator Pay Equity Fund (PEF) was created to achieve compensation equity with DC Public Schools teachers. This initiative, launched in Fall 2022, delivered initial lump sum payments ranging from $10,000 to $14,000 to approximately 3,000 CCEE educators across the city.
This policy research brief shares findings from a study using quasi-experimental methods to examine the immediate impacts of these initial payments on CCEE employment levels in Washington, DC. The analysis uses synthetic control methods and data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for the period between 2019 and 2022. These datasets and the programs used to conduct the analysis are available for download here.