Advocates Continue the Call to Address Teacher Shortage

This week, child care providers, advocates, and a bi-partisan slate of lawmakers rallied on the steps of the capitol to highlight the impact of a historic child care teacher shortage driven by low-wages and called on the general assembly to invest in a recruitment and retention grant program as part of the final budget deal to help keep teachers in the classroom.

Child care providers from across Pennsylvania detailed how the broken business model of child care prohibits them from paying their teachers more because their families simply can’t afford to pay more. Mary Graham, Executive Director of Children’s Village in Philadelphia, noted that Governor Shapiro’s current budget proposal utilizes mostly federal funding to increase the child care subsidy reimbursement rate to the 75th percentile of the current market price of child care services. This will alleviate some of the rising facility, food, utility and supply costs associated with running a child care center. She noted, however, that it won’t be enough to solve this teacher shortage.

Bob Carl, President and CEO of the Schuylkill County Chamber of Commerce underscored the negative economic impact of the child care teacher crisis impacting employers in nearly every sector across the state. He presented a letter signed by 42 local chambers of commerce and economic development agencies urging an investment that directly helps child care providers to recruit and retain their teachers. The letter acknowledges that child care teachers are the workforce behind the workforce. Alleviating the child care workforce shortage, means classrooms can reopen, increasing the availability of child care for the tens of thousands of families that need it to remain in the workforce and contribute to Pennsylvania’s overall economy.

Also participating in the rally were Early Childhood Education Caucus co-chair, Senator Judy Schwank, Senator Lynda Schlegel Culver, and Representative Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz